Preselection, a subset of social proof, describes the phenomenon where women will judge a man more attractive if he has displayed the ability to attract other attractive women. It is an incredibly powerful lever of influence, and its power sometimes surprises even game-educated men when they see it in action. Whether that’s in a bar flirting with groups of people, rolling with an entourage, or going to a party where the new girl you’re chatting with notices that three of your ex-girlfriends have come up to you to say hi with that twinkle in their eyes.
For laughs, I have dubbed preselection a “sexual Ponzi scheme.”
It’s worth noting that preselection works both ways. If an otherwise genial, interesting guy is seen spending a lot of time around women below his league, other women will think “what’s up with that? There must be something wrong with him that he can’t get prettier girls.” While a lot of us beta-type guys think nothing of socializing platonically with not-so-attractive women, the fact remains that the sexual marketplace is a tough customer.
Preselection is important in communicating options – just as the male mind wants a woman to unleash her inner slut for him and him alone, the female mind wants a man who could commit to other women if he so chose to commit to her.
One of the best pop-culture instances of preselection’s instant impact came in the excellent comedy Legally Blonde, where Reese Witherspoon helps a geeky guy get a date by pretending she’d had a one-night stand with him. Note that it’s not just sexual attraction she shows – she suggests that he’s evoked a multitude of emotional responses from her: ecstasy, love (as it were), anger, hurt and disappointment.
(It’s a real letdown for this post that YouTube won’t let me embed the video so you’ll have to click the link.)