Category Archives: primary sources

Don’t Pay Attention To Psych Surveys That Amount To Self-Fortune Telling

Frequently, news stories herald the results of “studies” that involve asking people to discern:

  • How they would act or react to certain situations
  • Rational reasons why they made certain decisions which are most likely made emotionally and subconsciously and then rationalized after the fact

“Study: 41% of men would lie to get sex”

“88% of Millenials would rather be respected than wealthy”

“Women say they prefer equalist marriage to male-leadership model

(These are made up from my head but analogous to what you’ll see in media headlines.)

I have completely stopped paying attention to these studies that query people with hypotheticals. Their theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, their methods are sloppy and their conclusions are highly questionable.

Context: In reviewing this Dalrock piece for my last post, I came across a comment from “Lily” that linked to the summary of a book entitled “Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others.” The book had the provocative (to women) but rather simple (to men) thesis that there are strategies women can employ to increase their likelihood of becoming married, and behavioral traits a woman can exhibit that will greatly increase the chance that a man will want to make her his wife. In other words, girl-game for ladies-in-waiting.

(It’s funny how much crap women at large give the idea of game, when in fact guys teaching other men how to be attractive to the opposite sex is simply copying the blueprint that women have used for generations.)

Dalrock found the piece interesting, but reminded us that “he is going on surveys which have the problem of people answering why they think they did something.”

I have three major objections to this kind of junk science.

1. People can’t predict with their minds how their gut instinct will react to a choice; only when the choice is put in front of them can they be sure what they’ll choose.

As I have commented several times around the Internet: if people could accurately predict their responses to decisions and stimuli, the entire field of research psychology would not exist at all. We wouldn’t have to run experiments to examine how our minds operate if we could just trust people to ascertain and then reveal the exact mechanisms of their operation.

Salesmen understand this as a core aspect of their trade – that customers can be influenced through social traits like reciprocation, likability or social proof to make decisions against their rational self-interest in a dollars-and-cents way. They walk onto the lot to buy one thing, or “just to browse,” and walk out with a purchase. Whether we want to admit it or not, we make decisions with our right brains far more than with our left brains. Rationalization is the art of convincing oneself that you’ve made a left-brain decision when in reality your limbic system did all the work.

Much of research psychology concerns itself with constructing creative head-fake experiments to keep the participants from catching on to what is actually being studied, and thus invoking their rationalization engines. I’m convinced that this focus on actually performing the science is part of the reason so many psychology majors seem wholly clueless as to the actual imperatives of human behavior.

One very famous study, the Milgram experiment, involved telling subjects they were participating in a study of memory when in fact the researchers were examining the response of people to authority when asked to abuse other human beings.

This experiment was spoofed in the opening sequence of Ghostbusters, in which the cynical and opportunistic Peter Venkman hit on a woman while giving electric shocks to examining “the effects of negative reinforcement on ESP ability.” The effects according to the male subject, was “pissing him off.”

His colleague Dr. Egon Spengler performed more sadistically absurdist research in Ghostbusters II, inviting a couple to “marriage counseling” and then forcing them to sit in a waiting room for hours while steadily increasing the temperature in the room.

2. There’s never a true binary choice to be made, the choices are among people with a range of traits we are trying to balance.

A major failure mode of popular studies is trying to examine a trait or a tradeoff in isolation.

Guys get asked stuff like “would you rather have a girlfriend who is sexually attractive or very intelligent?”

I don’t care what your teachers told you, there are stupid questions and this is one of them. People just don’t make decisions based on an isolated factor or pair of factors to the exclusion of everything else. Anybody in the sexual marketplace is looking at a range of traits in each potential partner and trying to balance them to get the optimal combination that’s gettable.

Women get asked stuff like “would you rather date a doctor or an accountant?” It’s impossible to answer the question without considering the other traits of the two men (not that the answer would be expected to be accurate, see point #1 above). What if Bradley Cooper wants to do her taxes and the doctor is C. Everett Koop?

Another silly variant of this binary-choice idea is “all else being equal, would you prefer X or Y?” There aren’t two men of exactly the same personality and job status except one is bald and the other has a mullet, or two women with the same nurturing traits and chocolate addictions but one has big boobs and the other has great legs. You’re going to get bad data if you ask people to choose in the frame of non-existent option spaces.

The one caveat to this is that almost no one will date someone who doesn’t meet a minimum threshold of attractiveness, so that trait absolutely has to be met.

However, the bar for attraction in men is not that high; once you meet that standard, it becomes a battle of relationship fitness. In other words, if you want a relationship with a guy, you don’t have to be hotter than the other girls he’s considering; you just have to be hotter than the least attractive woman he’s willing to be with. Which unless he’s a guy with a lot of options, is usually pretty meager. Hungry men gotta eat and all that.

In short, I’ve very rarely heard of a man who picked the hotter girl for a relationship on that basis. Commitment is earned by others means (see that book about who men want to marry).

On the other hand, modern young women seem to mentally separate men into hopeless betas and dashing alphas at a moment’s notice. Roosh actually just tweeted to that effect tonight: “The game is so fucked up in USA that if you push the wrong button on your phone and accidentally call her, she may write you off completely.” (I have many thoughts on this issue that are better suited to another post – TL;DR: an entire generation with daddy issues.)  This means they price themselves out of the opportunity to take advantage of the wide spread of alpha-beta balance options. So women are often observed to date men of poor long-term fitness, because by the time she’s found a man who meets her attractiveness standards she’s committed herself to sacrificing almost all other considerations. There are men who exhibit a range of tradeoffs between core attraction and comfort traits but most of them are invisible to the Millenial girl.

3. People tell pollsters what they think they should say, and what flatters their own sensibilities and self-concept

Finally, there’s the problem that we don’t want to admit our wicked thoughts to other people. We instinctively want to give answers that fit our egos, that flatter the pollster so we can please them and avoid upturned eyebrows and dirty looks. I’m such a noble person!

Interestingly, I’ve noticed personally that this effect doesn’t disappear when you take away the in-your-face questioner. Even on anonymized Internet surveys or work feedback sheets with no names, I find myself asking “is this how I want to answer this? Am I the type of guy who would say this?”

My experience is backed up by a celebrated study (analysis liked here) that suggested that women dissemble about their partner counts even in anonymous surveys. (The differences in men’s counts were concluded to not be significant.) It appears this effect can be mitigated by introducing the spectre of objective truth via a polygraph or something like it.

JUST SAY NO

So those are three reasons to not put a lot of stock in these person-on-the-street style of surveys, even the ones done in labs under the guidance of PhDs. They don’t qualify as anything close to scientific or even informative; all you get with these studies is a good idea of what people will say when asked questions about a particular topic, not what they really think or how they will truly act.

It’s interesting to note that while we in the Manosphere are quick to criticize women who give rationalized, face-saving and bogus answers to these sorts of surveys or to classic questions like “what do you find attractive in a man,”  in the case above case Dalrock (and me) are calling the veracity of men’s answers into question. (The cheap joke here would be to posit that married men are habituated into saying what women want to hear.) The fact is, however, that there’s only a limited amount of rank dishonesty going on; seriously, what is the overt incentive to lie on a survey? Rather, the nature of the study itself intrinsically taints the results with cognitive biases that are almost unavoidable.  It’s like driving in the snow without chains – it doesn’t matter if you’re a Rain Man level of excellent driver, it’s just a fundamentally flawed setup.

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The Bro Zone

Much has been discussed about the “friend zone,” the circle of celibacy into which a woman places a male acquaintance she is not attracted to, such that she can continue to develop emotional connection with him without commensurate sexual involvement.

A brilliant comment from Ribbon Butterfly at HUS posits the counterpart of the Friend Zone:

She’s bro-zoned him.

Bro-zone is different from friend-zone. It’s usually a transitional phase, heading towards friend-zone. Bro-zone is where women place attractive men who are off limits.

How you’re treated in bro-zone: the way the woman imagines that a man might treat his bros. Sadly, women often have no idea how men interact in an all-male pack, so her idea of treating you like a “real bro” is to orbit you, the way nice guys have orbited her before. It’s what women act like when they’re trying to pay forward all those times that THEY had an orbiter.

Fascinating stuff – a way for a woman to pre-emptively reject the thought of having a relationship by replacing it with a different kind of relationship, as if she’s hoping he will friend-zone her and stop being so damn attractive. “Women often have no idea how men interact in an all-male pack - ain’t that the truth. She waxes more:

She probably thinks you’re Just Not That Into Her, by dint of you sleeping with the other girl. But at least she’s going to be the Nice Girl and be supportive and be there for you and eventually you’ll just become good friends.

Meanwhile, if she’s going to be happy for you and support your actions wrt the other girl, the way a Real Bro would, she might as well seek your now-unbiased advice. Your information on how the other side thinks is valuable. If she can’t have you, she can at least learn how to snag someone like you.

She might even cheer you on if you decide to Game/play/sleep with multiple women at a time. Because that’s what a Real Bro would do.

Ohai there, I think I’m just projecting now. Though I’ll say I really have bro-zoned guys before. Some of the males in my class, for example. Very attractive men, have a little Game, we joke and connect on a personal level – but they have girlfriends. Or they just broke up. Or they’re way out of my league. Bro-zoned them all. There’s a window of time in which bro-zone can swap back into date-zone, but it diminishes quickly, and eventually everyone moves to friend-zone.

I’m guessing it doesn’t really move into friend-zone, it’s more that the woman stops being interested and so it becomes an actual friendship without serious sexual interest on either side.

What’s wild about this particular case is that the man is interested in the woman; if RB is right, the girl is also interested in him, and with a little communication they could blow this bro-zone thing away and starting pounding like a sledgehammer.

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Caring For Your Introvert

In 2003, Atlantic writer Jonathan Rauch penned an essay entitled “Caring For Your Introvert: the habits and needs of a little-understood group.”

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren’t caring for him properly.

So begins a semi-tongue-in-cheek but heartfelt exposé of a put-upon group, besieged daily by garrulous, chattery people whose idea of a good time is sapping the energy of unwilling conversational partners and who can’t (or refuse to) empathize with the introvert’s condition.

The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”

So what’s this really all about? Put most simply, introverts lose energy as a result of interacting with people – in particular new people, and in particular small-talk interactions that aren’t moving toward a specific goal – while extroverts gain energy by contact with social packs. (As we’ll get to, shyness and introversion are distinct phenomena.)

Another key factor Rauch touches on is that of extroverts thinking by talking and introverts thinking before talking – which means that a mixed discussion or idea exchange is going to contain a lot more talking than an introvert is comfortable with to come to a fully-formed idea, while the extrovert will be hamstrung by an introvert’s aloofness as ideas are incubated.

COMING OUT OF THE INTROVERSION CLOSET

I had been exposed to the concept of intrinsic introversion before that story came out, and immediately recognized it in myself. Finally it explained why I couldn’t go more than an hour at a party without feeling the need to hide out in the bathroom for five minutes! It was liberating to discover the mechanism of my social exhaustion, and to understand that I didn’t have some bizarre social disease, it was just the way I was built and there were thousands more like me.

Building on that realization, two interesting things came out of my taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire a few years ago. The first was that I was typed as strongly introverted, confirming my hunch (since confirmed twice more). The second was that nobody I knew believed it.

The combination of two factors:

  • My ability to go on at length about subjects of interest and passion
  • My keeping a small group of close friends who share my interests

means that most people close to me have spent hours hearing me talk their ears off about one thing or another. So they are flummoxed and probably a bit offended when I tell them what a bother it is to be pinned in conversation.

I’ve come to explain my condition to some of those around me, and have left more than one social event by simply saying, “my E is empty, I’m going home to recharge it.”

(The closet metaphor is not an accident…in an enlightening follow-up interview, Rauch hints at his homosexuality; without a doubt the process of coming to terms with a world not built for your style resonated with him in more ways than one.)

SHYNESS AND BETATUDE

When I first entered high school, I became very shy. I still don’t really understand why – maybe I was afraid of making a bad impression, or sensed people wouldn’t like me for the guy I was, I was a lot more intellectual than most of my classmates at the time (and more than many of them ever got) and I suppose I sensed that it wouldn’t go over well. I had good friends who were alphas of the class – and would have been glad to pull me up – but for whatever reason I never believed I could stand alongside them. Now I know that I could have, and still stay congruent to my personality, but that’s many years of hindsight talking.

In any event, I worked on it, because I wanted things from life I needed to be assertive to get, and I refer to myself as a recovering shy person. (My learning game has only been the most recent step in a decade-long multi-phase social improvement project.)

Shyness is not introversion, a depletion of social energy – it’s an anxiety that you’re not good enough, and that people won’t want to hear what you have to say. Shyness brings with it an emotional sensitivity, a pervasive fear of negative judgment, and runs the gamut in intensity from discomfort to panic. Of course it’s a vicious cycle; when you have that mindset, anything you do say is laced with trepidation and low confidence anyway.

Shyness can also be the result of a fear of agency. My sister went through a shy phase where she offloaded matters of authority on other people, including having me ask waiters to send wrongly-prepared food back to the kitchen because she didn’t want the bother and discomfort.

Likewise, introversion and betatude are not the same thing. The essence of beta (in the Roissy sense and not the Vox Day sense) is secondary social status, manifested in supplication and a resigned conviction of one’s lot in life. There can be extroverted betas, loqacious and energized in their race to the bottom of the social ladder. And introversion doesn’t preclude a high-status personality profile as not all alphas are life-of-the-party types. In fact, one of the alpha stereotypes, that of the brooding, strong silent type, is textbook introversion, and an introverted mindset can allow for the development of mastery in mental pursuits that is part of the alpha persona.

Shyness, however, will fairly readily produce a betatized social status as the person in question can’t adequately assert himself in his social environment. Shy extroverts must the most tortured of all – with a natural need for personal contact, but paralyzed by fear from getting it.

The Smiths’ singer Morrissey made shyness and its associated anxiety a key feature of many of his songs’ tortured characters.

There can also be a sort of “reverse shyness,” a compulsion to constantly interact with people. I dated a woman who exhibited this behavior, she got very anxious if she wasn’t milling in groups on a regular basis; it combined with my natural predilection away from large groups to create many impasses for us.

YOU NEVER CAN TELL

Like my friends couldn’t believe my introverted status, it’s funny how people can be different than you might expect. My boss and mentor at a previous job was a classic mentor/counselor personality – a skilled listener, a polished reader of people, calmly intelligent and committed to his work, and always one to understand the other side before making his case. He blew my mind when he told me he scored extroverted every time. He had taken on behaviors in accordance with his character and ideals, but that didn’t change his fundamental type preference (a preference he filled in his spare time by being on stage as a musician, dancer and public speaker, and leveraged for career success by getting to know everybody in the building).

INTROVERTS, EXTROVERTS AND DATING

The Atlantic solicited reader feedback on introversion and extroversion in relationships. There’s no code to making it work, no prescribed success formula for the I-E balance in a relationship, but the readers’ thoughts were fascinating. Some readers noted that the social expectation of the “extroverted woman, introverted man” stereotype was damaging to couples who didn’t fit that profile; in particular introverted women felt put upon by those assumptions.

ACCEPTING YOUR INTROVERT

Rauch ends with this:

How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice? First, recognize that it’s not a choice. It’s not a lifestyle. It’s an orientation.

Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don’t say “What’s the matter?” or “Are you all right?”

Third, don’t say anything else, either.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get away from people for a few minutes.

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Scientific Evidence for the Game Effectiveness of Kino

Thanks to his Twitter (God that follow is addictive), psychology citation-master Eric Barker unwittingly chimed in on my morning post about the difficulty of learning kinesthetic social skills in today’s touch-averse American culture.

Previous research has shown that light tactile contact increases compliance to a wide variety of requests. However, the effect of touch on compliance to a courtship request has never been studied. In this paper, three experiments were conducted in a courtship context. In the first experiment, a young male confederate in a nightclub asked young women to dance with him during the period when slow songs were played. When formulating his request, the confederate touched (or not) the young woman on her forearm for 1 or 2 seconds. In the second experiment, a 20-year-old confederate approached a young woman in the street and asked her for her phone number. The request was again accompanied by a light touch (or not) on the young woman’s forearm. In both experiments, it was found that touch increased compliance to the man’s request. A replication of the second experiment accompanied with a survey administered to the female showed that high score of dominance was associated with tactile contact. The link between touch and the dominant position of the male was used to explain these results theoretically.

Source: “Courtship compliance: The effect of touch on women’s behavior” from Social Influence, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2007, Pages 81 – 97

Link here. As C. Everett Koop said, I think the debate is over.

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Primary Source Material: The Hot-Crazy Scale

My writing can’t do justice to Barney Stinson’s lecture on the the Hot-Crazy Scale, so I’ll let Doogie Howser take it away.

(The Vicky Mendoza Diagonal is a satiric reference to the baseball concept of the Mendoza Line, the batting average below which a player is a net negative to the team, despite his defensive skills, and should be removed from the lineup. I have also heard the Mendoza Line defined as the batting average below which the player will never return to functional offensive performance. The popular definition of the Mendoza Line is a batting average of .200.)

THE ALPHA-BETA SCALE

A parallel concept for men to consider is that a man can only be as beta as he is alpha – in other words, he will only draw relationship benefits from his beta traits to the degree he is also attractive to his mate.

READER EXERCISE

A fun party game: locate both yourself and your various romantic partners on the following plot. Or draw an arc that charts the progress of your relationship over time.

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Reflections on Frost’s Analysis of the Sexual Revolution

I promised Frost of Freedom Twenty-Five I would post my thoughts on his brilliant pair of posts on the spoils of the sexual revolution:

Frost’s thesis is the following: “The Sexual Revolution harms attractive women, and unattractive men. It benefits unattractive women, and attractive men.”

Frost was responding to a Bostonian blogress named Lilly with whom he has been trading posts recently, who had posited simply “it seems like the women’s sexual revolution has done more for men than it has for women…it’s kind of a man’s dream come true: easier access to sex. Which then means it’s harder for a girl to find a guy willing to stick around.”

Susan Walsh followed up with an epic thread on the topic (861 comments to date). Since I can’t hope to re-state their judgments in better words, I will instead add my own.

1. You Can Never Over-Emphasize The Apex Fallacy

The Apex Fallacy (which I first heard of at Elusive Wapiti) is a phenomenon in social analysis where a group sees the success of the top of another group (the apex) and assumes that the entire group is leading a life of undue privilege.

The apex fallacy is what is going on in Lilly’s treatise. Most men don’t have anything resembling easy access to sex (more on that below). But because Lilly and millions of young educated women only consort with – that is to say date and sleep with – attractive men, who DO have access to sex essentially on their terms, the women they are seeing can only fathom “it must be great to be a man.” Without realizing the massive selection bias they are operating under.

At some point, the apex fallacy infected feminism and caused the movement to believe that men writ large were collectively responsible for the actions of those few men who killed, beat, raped, and abused corporations and politics for their own self-enrichment. Regular Manosphere readers understand that most men are beta or omega types, and thus almost wholly incapable of the sociopathic sexual, violent and relational crimes feminism sought to pin on the Y chromosome.

(Sidebar: I was not alive for most of this, but it’s clear feminism is deeply confused. We’re at a point where stay-at-home-momism is lauded as feminist, careerism is feminist, divorcing is feminist…instead of a movement with concrete goals, anything that aggrandizes a particular woman’s ego will be spun as a feminist act – which literally defines modern feminism as a movement of narcissism. What we have now in American society is a large number of people, like me, who are generally friendly to reasonable accommodations for women’s issues like reproductive health, workplace access, maternity leave and flex work, and a small number of very loud and obnoxious activists who we’d rather not listen to but they know a lot of lawyers.)

The AF also distorts perceptions in the sexual marketplace, as Lilly so glibly yet unawarely illustrates. Sexual liberation has gotten top men better access and variety than ever before.

Frost and Susan both make this point, so I won’t belabor it.

The AF is closely related to another phenomenon I don’t have a name for that might simply be called grass-is-greener syndrome. It’s the tendency of an ostensibly aggrieved group that if another group doesn’t have their particular problem, then they have life easier.

One example is the cubicle monkey who comes home to a housewife irate and exhausted from childcare. Papa can’t figure out what she’s so unhappy about – he has to deal with petty office politics and the pressure of bringing home the bread. But because he didn’t have to deal with a baby with diarrhea that day, she thinks his life is easier and it’s not fair.

Another example is the frequent complaint among men that women are not expected to approach and thus don’t risk the pain of rejection that men are expected to deal with. Women who are active agents in the dating market (not princesses who expect men to do all the work) experience their own challenges – trying to signal attraction and encourage men to escalate.

2. There Are Two Sexual Marketplaces

There is a dating marketplace, where commitment and relationships are bargained, and a true sexual marketplace where sex itself is bargained without relationships on the table. One’s MMV (marital market value so we don’t have to use the initials DMV) and SMV are not to be confused.

They correspond to Ladder 1 and Ladder 2 in the Male Ladder Theory.

3. Maybe Pretty Girls Do Have It Harder

As I see it, the revolution hurts top women in two ways.

First, the top women no longer have monopoly access to top men and their exponentially advanced power and resources; top men can now seek sexual satisfaction from lower-ranking women and get more variety and quantity in the process (there are more mates in the fatter part of the bell curve). All of this without substantially risking their time and resources in a relationship or a marriage.

Second, and this is a more subtle point, the short-term sexual market normalizes hardcore hypergamy. Women can get their short-term fling fix from a man who would never date them long-term. The result of this normalization is that 7’s and 8’s expect Seven Minutes in Heaven with a guy who’s a 9, and 9’s and 10’s may pine for a guy who literally doesn’t exist. A true 10 man is not going to be as attractive to a 10 as he is to a 7, so a top woman’s possible satisfaction will be lower than a woman in the second tier.

The man himself might be less satisfied with a woman at his rank. To a point, the tradeoff of her being less attractive but more into him is a positive benefit for a man’s relationship (although men do not exhibit such “hypogamy” as a primary mating strategy).

It warps the collective mindset of the sexual marketplace, and efficiency suffers at edge cases.

4. The Revolution Was Not Televised

The title of Susan’s post was a bit funny to me, because for a lot of young men today the sexual revolution never really happened.

The revolution has given less-attractive men marginally improved access to sex. (If you believe premarital sex didn’t exist before the pill, I have a subscription to Life Magazine to sell you.) It hasn’t really given the beta-male pool any real freedom of sexual congress, Haight-Ashbury notwithstanding.

It’s a bit like airport security, with one line for the gold members and airline crews and another line for the riff raff.

So a lot of guys can read this and consider whether the sexual revolution benefited men in general, but looking over their personal histories wonder what the F women like Lilly are talking about since they’ve never been invited to saddle up on her carousel. They are like people who didn’t have cable during Shark Week – they just flat missed out the hotness.

Exacerbating this split outcome is the increasing dichotomy of attractive and unattractive men. The breakwater against expanding sexual access has been the enervation of boys and men, and thus a concentration of virility in a smaller pack of males – natural alphas, guys who from boyhood resisted the kinder, gentler programming of society. This is a complex issue whose causes go way beyond the sexual revolution itself, from the emasculation of fathers in popular culture to the removal of dodgeball from PE class.

The upshot is that those who did what they were told all through the years by and large wound up sex-starved and clueless with regard to women; their mothers and their teachers helped neuter them while Dad stood by trepidatiously saying “if Mom’s not happy nobody’s happy.”

5. Mass Media Culture Globalizes Hypergamy

This is where I give Dalrock his long-promised response as well. During an intense debate at Haley’s Halo about whether it was immoral today for a woman to marry a man she wasn’t in love with (I believe it is), at least one woman made the comment that, hypothetically, a guy she doesn’t love might be her only shot at marriage and motherhood, things she “had to have,” and so he would just have to deal with it. I found this line of argument to be breathtakingly selfish. My opinion was backed up by a commenter who claimed to be stably married to a woman who fit with him but wasn’t really into him and had lived a life of unbearable sexual frustration.

Comments in response argued that because of hypergamy, most women are only attracted to a small subset of top men, and thus most men would just have to accept marrying women who are not really that limerant or turned on by them. I for one invoked Hamster’s Razor, which says to never accept rhetoric that supports one’s naked self-interest as anything other than a rationalization.

For his part, Dalrock responded with a post on the limits of hypergamy, asking if hypergamy really universally means that a large chunk of men won’t be able to mate with women who are into them.

Dalrock expressed skepticism, and I am inclined to agree. We both ascribe this line of argument to an abuse of the concept of hypergamy, and a simple case of unrealistic expectations that prevent someone from feeling an appropriate sense of love because they’ve become habituated to a bunch of silly conviction about “the man I deserve” based on whatever delusions of grandeur she was feeling the day she came up with her date-and-mate checklist.

Dalrock prescribed a deflation of ego. I suppose that’s too much to ask in our increasingly self-absorbed and self-justifying popular culture.

As to where these expectations are coming from, hypergamy is by its nature a localized phenomenon. A man’s status is going to be judged by a woman in the environment in which they both live. There is no collective unconscious repository of sexual status where women can check in and see if they’ve gotten a good deal compared to all the other girls.

At least there didn’t used to be. Now there is movies, TV, gossip rags and YouTwitFace, all of which provide ever-increasing forums for the conspicuous display of sexual value. This mass media explosion has collectivized sexual value by breaching walls between mating communities, such that all classes and ranks now have at least visual access to one another. In particular, the broadcasting of attractive men and of material lifestyles shirley have a dramatic effect on the expectations of women in the dating marketplace.

I must admit I stole this idea from the famous Roger Devlin, the academic muse of the Manosphere as it were. In Sexual Utopia In Power, Devlin noted the constant comparisons of modern women’s lives against unrealistic media-induced standards:

Formerly, most people lived parochial lives in a world where even photography did not exist. Their notions of sexual attractiveness were limited by their experience. Back in my own family tree, for example, there was a family with three daughters who grew up on a farm adjoining three others. As each girl came of age, she married a boy from one of the neighboring farms. They did not expect much in a husband. It is probable all three went through life without ever seeing a man who looked like Cary Grant.

But by the 1930s millions of women were watching Cary Grant two hours a week and silently comparing their husbands with him. For several decades since then the entertainment industry has continued to grow and coarsen. Finally the point has been reached that many women are simply not interested in meeting any man who does not look like a movie star. While it is not possible to make all men look like movie stars, it is possible to encourage women to throw themselves at or hold out for the few who do, i.e., to become sluts or spinsters, respectively. Helen Gurley Brown raked in millions doing precisely this. The brevity of a woman’s youthful bloom, combined with a mind not yet fully formed at that stage of life, always renders her vulnerable to unrealistic expectations. The sexual revolution is in part a large-scale commercial exploitation of this vulnerability.

5b. Cosmo Sells Apex Expectations To Young Women

An interesting follow-up to this point would be Cosmopolitan magazine (Helen Gurley Brown edited the magazine for over thirty years). Last time I checked, this pile of inane dreck was the best-selling periodical among young adults.  Cosmo pairs girl talk with graphic sex talk, although as a learned red pill man I know these are often one and the same.

Cosmo transparently sells the apex fallacy that your guy is going to be really hot and in demand, so you need to be well-versed in beauty, fashion, lifestyle and – most importantly – techniques for sexual variety. It presumes all its readers are going to date men with freakish sexual tastes. This closely ties into a subtle form of intrasexual competition – “These tips will make you better at sex than any woman you know. Meanwhile, everyone else is reading, it so get to work.”

The fact is that most women will never have access to the sort of strapping male model physiques that are idolized on romance novel covers and GQ, let alone access to a true alpha male with his bevy of attraction markers. As a general rule, a woman needs to emulate sexual variety during a long-term relationship, but it’s damaging to women’s self-image to give them the idea that they are never going to be good enough in the sack. I’m no sex pozzie but this idea of standing sexual inadequacy being germinated in the minds of teenage women disturbs me.

I suppose it’s no different from cosmetics, fashion and household products marketing, which all serve to constantly chip away at a woman’s security in her own domestic state.

I was still a teenager when I noticed that Cosmo thought the worst of both men and women – that men were easily-manipulated, sex-obsessed boors and that women’s highest purpose on this Earth was to look hot and serve the needs of a man better than the next girl.

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Ladder Theory For Men

One of the greatest memes of the medio-Internet era was the “Ladder Theory.” Documented in a hilarious website complete with colorful visual aids, the theory attempted to explain the frustrating mystery of why women sleep with certain men.

One could argue this theory  may have been one of the first primordial thought instances of the movement that blossomed into the Manosphere – having at its hear the red-pilling reality of female sexuality, free from the pretty lies of popular culture.

I’m not even going to try to summarize it all, but here is a representative nugget:

A common question men ask of women is “Tell me what you want in a man?”, which is like asking how many guys she’s slept with, an invitation to be lied to. Because she’ll almost invariably answer with some combination of

• sense of humor
• intelligence
• sensitivity
• emotional stability

As far as I can tell this is mostly rubbish.

Just go read it yourself. Yes, read the whole thing; it takes ten minutes. It covers (if not in those words) sex rank, factors of attraction, alpha and beta traits, and female mating strategies (i.e. tingle vs money, represented by the ubiquitous “biker vs rich guy”).

THE FEMALE LADDERS

The first female ladder (FL1) is reserved for men a particular woman would have sex with. The remainder are sentenced to FL2. This second ladder is easy for readers of this blog to understand – it’s the “friend zone,” the sexiled point of no return.

In effect, the space between the ladders is occupied by a woman’s conception of her SMP. Via hypergamy, men above her SMP are on FL1, men below it are on FL2 (as if!) None of this is a surprise to a manosphere regular.

THE MALE LADDERS

I am going to break with Mr. Lynn and disagree on his male ladder theory. He posits that men have a single ladder of all the women they want to have sex with (almost all women) graduated by hotness, degree of drunkeness required and how on-the-down-low the lay has to be kept to save his reputation.

It’s not that he’s wrong, it’s that he’s only considering sex itself, or in another manner of speaking, he’s conflating sex with relationships – which is understandable as he’s trying to explain female sexuality. To understand male sexuality, we need to make those two items independent degrees of freedom.

Men don’t have one ladder. They actually have three.

Male ladder 1 (ML1) is for women a man would consider seriously dating and/or marrying.

Male ladder 2 (ML2) is for women with whom a man desires sex but has no intention of committing his personal energy and resources to. For a typical man, ~70% of women are eligible for ML2 (subject to taste).

ML3 is for everybody else – unusually ugly women, seriously dysfunctional personalities, damaged goods, body types you don’t like, your best friend’s sister, etc.

In this respect, male sexuality is more complicated than its female counterpart.

SORTING ALGORITHMS OF MALE LADDER THEORY

In almost all cases, any ML1-eligible woman is also ML2-eligible (the reverse is not true), in other words one is a subset of the other. Another way of saying it is men don’t desire relationships with women they don’t want to have sex with. Women don’t either, but the pressures of age and marriage sometimes get women hitched to guys who only look good on paper.

A pedestalizer presumptively places all women on ML1 until proven otherwise. This kind of guy is prone to making serious misreads and errors of over-investment that waste his time in addition to pushing women away.

A whiteknight is a guy who puts every woman on ML1, and has such an intense cognitive bias that none of them ever get off. (He doesn’t usually get off either, if you get what I’m saying.)

A red-pill man, PUA or other Manosphere denizen is conscious of all the ladders and puts an attractive woman on ML2 to start. That she turns him on does not entitle her to his investment until she proves herself worthy. Through judicious use of game, he qualifies and tests her, subtly (and often backhandedly) inviting her to hop onto ML1. Many are called, few are chosen.

The latter is obviously the best strategy – a man who is open to quality women, but doesn’t need a relationship and who is certainly not going to get into one by hiring someone who’s unfit for the position.

THE SEX AND LOVE EQUATIONS

The upshot of all of this is two critical cause-and-effect equations. Contrary to the apex-fallacying of jilted female hooker-uppers, men do not lack the ability to bond through sex. It’s just that the system is only deployed under certain conditions.

A man who is interested in sex with a woman (an ML2 woman, by definition) is generally speaking not going to get emotionally bonded /fall in love with her by virtue of having sex with her.

However…

A man who is in love will want to have sex with the object of his affection, and he will deliver his best expression of that love, and will enhance his bond most effectively, through sex with that woman. As the brilliant Stephenie Rowling said, the male definition of romance has a lot fewer flowers and a lot more boners.

LADIES, WATCH FOR LADDER BUMPS!

Women absolutely need to understand that they can get bumped between ladders, and often silently. He might still pursue you – but you don’t know that he’s changed the rules of engagement and he’s now just looking to get in your pants, cash in some of his sunk cost and be done with it. On the other hand, a man moving you onto the relationship ladder might produce some strange and confusing behavior (especially if he develops oneitis with all of its attendant missteps).

As I said above, you have to be on Male Ladder 1 first before sex with your man will enhance his love. So don’t think you can make him love you by seducing him. This is one of the most damaging projections women can (and do) make. Don’t do it.

OK, so what can get you bumped? In fact the outspoken Roosh just discussed some canonical ladder-bump events today in his post “Warning Signs A Girl Isn’t Worth A Relationship.”

  • Changing your music without first asking for permission.
  • Giving you unsolicited advice.
  • Saying “you should.”
  • Not apologizing when she texts or takes a call in your presence.

To this I would add trying to make you jealous, cutting you down in public, facebook pictures of wild parties or with lots of strapping dudes she’s not related to, rearranging/tidying your living space, making plans for you on fall football Saturdays or Sundays, reading Cosmo, or demanding expensive dinners, gifts and/or vacations (a fitness test you should “pass” by getting out of the relationship). Half these items will blow a woman all the way to Ladder 3 in my book.

THE RANKED LIST AND THE PIZZA PIE

My final point has to do with male and female sexual standards.

As female sexuality seeks hypergamy (a higher status mate), male sexuality seeks variety to simultaneously maximize his progeny’s genetic diversity and to account for the fact that his sperm is cheap and you don’t get a woman pregnant every time you fire a bullet.

When the male desire for variety is brought up, there’s always some cynical woman who drops in on the discussion and says “so you’re saying men have lower standards than women?” Some women are truly flummoxed by the revelation that men really do find a lot of women attractive, far more women than women find men attractive.

“Lower standards” is a false paradigm, an erroneous way of looking at the situation.

Imagine female sexual preference as a ranked list of possible suitors (much like FL1). If a man becomes available who is ranked higher than the mate she has now, there’s a strong instinctual temptation to “trade up.”

On the other hand, the male sexual preference is more like a pizza pie, with different toppings on every slice. Depending on what’s available and the mood he’s in, he might prefer Hawaiian, meat lover’s, barbecue chicken, no sauce or some wacky pizza kink. Variety is like what they say about sex, even when it’s not that good, it’s still pretty good – which is why you sometimes see guys having affairs with women who are shirley not as hot as their wives.

If the pizzeria offered to make him a single flavor for the rest of his life, there’s no “perfect topping.” Any one of the choices could probably make a man happy in the long run.

So it’s not that his standards are “lower” than hers – he just has a wide palate that is accepting of a lot of flavors.

Now I’m not saying the hypergamous woman should trade up, or that the man should get his fingers greasy on multiple slices of pizza. I’m just telling you how the instincts work, and we need to understand the instincts so we can properly deal with them when they hijack our hormonal systems and try to bypass our cerebral cortex.

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Filed under beta guide, girl guide, original research, primary sources