Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Know your status

There is one thing and one thing only that makes guys attractive to women: high rank/social status.

Anything that people have come up with before - money, looks, power, "leader of men", social proof, "high value", "masculinity", "confidence", a big dick - it all (correlates with and therefore) boils down to this one thing: where are you in the picking order?

Women are no different in that respect from any other primate, or other even any social mammal for that matter.

Talking to other behavioral scientists I always get the same impression - we need to look at ourselves the same way we look at animals (i.e. other species), and all the "it's complicated" aspects of male-female relationships immediately get crystal clear.

The other day I had lunch with someone who studies sheep. In one of his many studies he gauged which type of male female sheep find the most attractive (interestingly, he is also involved in co-advising match.com on "biological attraction").

Now what is interesting about sheep is that they have a male rank order, and females seem to prefer the top (alpha) males. In contrast to most primates, however, some sheep species can elucidate a male's status by the length of their horns (which ultimately is an indicator of testosterone levels).

At some point during the conversation he said:

"I always wondered how a male sheep determines its own rank.
I mean, there are no mirrors around (and even if they would not be able to interpret their reflection as their own). So, how do they know how big their horns are?

They clearly have a sense of the length of their horns, because if you cut them off all the others ones treat them as lower rank. However, they will still act as if they are of higher rank.
They themselves are not aware as to why their social status has dropped. Of course, after a while they will learn and re-adapt.

It must be through extensive trial-and-error that the males find out where they belong."


This is an interesting observation.

While males might be born with a set of alleles that paves their way to a high testosterone level and ultimately high social rank, there are obviously many other factors interfering with the rank for social status during a man's development.

The idea that we learn to be dominant or aggressive (always keeping genetic biases in mind) is alluring for the following reason:

As Keith Johnston points out: One's social status - in the sense of high/dominant versus low/submissive) - really is just one of two strategies to avoid conflict:

"In daily life, each plays his own preferred Status, that is the Status that gives him the most certainty.

It doesn't matter if one plays a high Status ("Warning, bites") or low Status ("Don't bite, I'm not worth the effort"), one tries to maneuver oneself into the preferred position."

In a sense this is reminiscent of the classic "Dove/Hawk Dilemma" of Game Theory (as in economics, not PUA).

This game is seen as a model of conflict in which each player can either be confrontational (A HAWK) or prefer conciliation (A DOVE). The interesting aspect is that there are several solutions to the game that are "stable" in the sense that if a certain part of the population adopts the HAWK strategy and another percentage will be HAWKS, both sides fare better staying that way than changing their game (no pun intended).

This equilibrium of strategies (named after the "A beautiful mind" guy John Forbes Nash) arises by itself. You just let players start with both options, and over time they will settle with a strategy that "seems to work best for them".

But "what is best for them" depends on the population as a whole!

It just happens that a certain fraction of HAWKS to DOVES is optimal. But whether or not you settle for HAWK or DOVE depends on your trial-and-error.

What that means is that there probably is a stable equilibrium in our society between alpha males and beta males.

Following this idea you basically try to be more dominant or more submissive in the sandbox (certainly biased by your genetic makeup), and slowly learn whichever strategy "suits you best" (with the latter largely depending on your mates). Once you decide for yourself that is is better to "show teeth", or to "show tail", you are gonna stick with it for the rest of your life (or until you pick up a copy of The Game).

Old people who are overly aggressive are similar to sheep with their horns cut off. They fail to realize their actual loss of status and still stick to an aggressive high status strategy.

The impact this has on your sex life is obvious. To state it as a caricature:
As a low status male, your best option to raise your own offspring is to keep a close eye on the woman. You are forced into monogamy in order to make sure the kids are yours (hidden ovulation). You put all your resources into few kids that you raise to succeed. You're the Provider.

As a high status male you get to mate so many women you accept that most of your kids will fail; at least some of them will find cuckold dads that make sure they will succeed in life. You're The Lover.

Again, either strategy can succeed, and there probably is a stable equilibrium between them in society.

Now - what is interesting about this line of thinking is that once certain equilibria are reached they remain stable. Any "intrusion" attempt to bias the percentage one way or another will fail.

So - what does that mean for the current societal changes induced by feminism - and to a lesser degree the seduction community/PUA. Will we see more DOVES/beta males or will we see more HAWKS/alpha males - or will things balance each other out?

11 comments:

  1. One way to look at it:

    The growth in the PUA/game community is already a reaction to the prevalence of beta-tude in our culture. The equilibrium has already swung, is already out of balance, and there are too many beta AFC chumps out there, and that's why we are seeing a swing back in the direction of alphas.

    Humans are social creatures, even though we are at our core just animals. And the influence of feminist culture was enough to (temporarily) convince a sizable portion of natural alphas into adopting feminism-dictated beta behavior. Now we are seeing the pendulum swing back culturally, to the biological equilibrium.

    Just a theory. But I think it's right.

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  2. Are you both suggesting that there is a limit to the number of alphas in a given circle,and once that limit is reached there is no hope for prospective alphas to assume the alpha role?

    Also,what the heck is that Alexyss K.Taylor video all about?

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  3. Are you both suggesting that there is a limit to the number of alphas in a given circle,and once that limit is reached there is no hope for prospective alphas to assume the alpha role?yes. This may well be the case. Think of it this way:

    Women are incapable of being attracted to a large number of guys at the same type. Their natural tendency for hypergamy simply doesn't allow this.

    In any situation, women will try to find the one (or handful of) alpha guys that all the other women want, too. The moment they found out who this is, they want nobody else.

    Imagine joining a social group with a few hot women and a bunch of betas. You come in as an alpha - and it will be easy to serially lay all those chicks. It will happen regardless of whether one of the betas fucked them before, just because he was a tiny little bit more alpha than the other guys. The women will drop him and lust after you.

    On the flip side, if you join a group of hot chicks surrounded by the top actors of hollywood, you might fare poorly. You will be out-alpha'ed (no offense) and the women will continue to fuck the likes of George Clooney.

    There is no such thing as a group of equals among men.you can see that when world leaders meet, for example. Whenever there are more than two people one will be more dominant and one more submissive in any moment in time.

    Keith Johnstone notes that the dominance rank can be rather flexible and change within seconds. He assumes that friendship between alphas can arise by a dynamic oscillation, where each gets to be dominant and submissive over time (i.e. some time your pal claps your shoulder; another time you do the same to him). This is the closest we can get to equality in social rank, and it is likely that there will be bias (i.e. one of the friends will still be more dominant over time).

    In other words, even among a group of alphas there is always one guy who acts as leading wolf.

    And women can see that.

    Also,what the heck is that Alexyss K.Taylor video all about?Nothing. She's hot, that's all. :-p

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  4. Master Dogen,

    I think the rise in PUA culture, especially amongst white males, is directly related to the politically correct (Frankfurt school marxism) larger culture they imbibe from middle school through college, and is a rebellion against it.

    Men sit there in class and learn repeatedly that THEY are the cause of all the world's problems, and are disgusting creatures that women have to simply put up with until women can somehow sexually reproduce without the help of males in some glorious-far-off-future-fantasy. They are called racists and sexists textually and are told how over-priveledged they are despite the fact that no scholarship or job set-asides are available to them. They are told they collectively victimize the whole world, and that they sexually harass and rape women constantly (remember the date-rape hysterias and "all sex is rape" contentions of feminists like Andrea Dworkin?).


    After imbibing all of the above for years, men went out to bars and nervously slid up to pretty girls and attempted to "qualify" themselves as "nice guys" first. They'd lower their voice, "shrink" themselves tepidly, and entreat women with a tone of "hey, Im really a nice guy and wanna make friends and take you on dates and not treat you like all of those bad men out there that we all learned about in class all these years and watched TV shows about all these years------Im not like that".

    The above approach of course gets men killed socially as they look like uber pussies to women, but it was what they were brainwashed to be for most of their lives. Men seemingly sense this and turn to bodybuilding, hobby-ism, intellectualism, and consumerism to mimic the trappings of status and contentment, but still were hooked by the "uber-nice-guy" vibe that they felt they had to project, while women would sleep around on them, lead them on, try to use them as stepping stones, play them for money, and qualify them constantly. *******


    The PUA "movement" says to men in no uncertain terms that if a young man hasn't sexually harassed or raped someone, mistreated or abused another.................he has nothing to be "guilty" about and should not hide his sexual desires at all and be a -man- in the old sense of the word like John Wayne or James Bond, and to hell with what anyone else thinks about it. The brainwash-job of feminized education was never about equality anyway. Uglier motives were the base reasons for that. The media shows us TV shows in which men lie to and lead on women constantly, but in fact out there in the wild its the women who usually play the men for fools. All one has to do is ask around to confirm this amongst divorced friends and associates. Every divorced guy I know got cheated on badly and legally threatened when he put his foot down about it. Few men get married intending to do their wives wrong..............the notion of selfish married men is mostly a media-educational construct. Most guys wanted to be good loving husbands, but ended up marrying shrewish wives who nagged them to death and conducted a campaign of psycho-emotional warfare upon them.



    PUA's, this generation of men, are that way because so many of them grew up in broken homes where mom happily left dad and financially raped him via the courts. They heard their moms bitch their dads out on the phone over money and visitation priveledges while knowing dad worked all the time and did the best he could, while this woman bitched him out constantly, even though they knew dad could kick the shit out of mom if he wanted to and the cops wouldn't take him away to jail. This generation of women who left their loving husbands for bad boys, and made their sons watch----in effect-CREATED many of the bad boys out there now, and some PUA's too. They learned by watching men who tried to be polite and loving get kicked in the balls by women metaphorically, while happy-go-lucky-good-time-charlies got women's respect.



    PUA also represents the usage of psychology of men towards women. Girls magazines like Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar for years led with articles like "How to have an affair and him not know about it", and "how to get him to commit", and "how to make him give you space", and "how to tell if he's cheating", and basically how to beta-ize whatever man you have your eye on through psychology that women can read about in X-easy steps.

    Men didn't have anything like that. Women not only had that, but the mass entertainment and educational media behind them making men feel a guilt complex on top of the tricks they'd pick up in these books.


    Now these same men are using psychology on women, brutally. *******This is essentially turning the tables on the females. Its the applied usage of psychology, as it allows men to treat women, even if pretty, as if they are "nothing special", which gets women to feel as if the man must be of high status relative to themselves. Pretty women are so used to grovelling men, that they are caught flat footed by a man who treats them that way and who acts as if he has nothing to be ashamed of for being who he is. It -recalibrates- the social dynamics back to even footing instead of having relations between the sexes being framed as "princesses/striving/world-saving-'new'women who is stuck with a world of "priveledged-fratboy-immature-sexual-harrasing-childish-man-boys", back to simply Man and Woman. z

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  5. Humans are social creatures, even though we are at our core just animals. And the influence of feminist culture was enough to (temporarily) convince a sizable portion of natural alphas into adopting feminism-dictated beta behavior. Now we are seeing the pendulum swing back culturally, to the biological equilibrium.I think it's the other way around. Genuine natural alphas will be alphas regardless of environment. (Even at the height of second-wave feminism plenty of men were getting laid.) It's the natural betas, who are less predisposed to break social norms and more likely to accept uncritically what the media and educational establishments tell them is "good behavior," who are finally getting wise.

    In a society where long-term monogamous marriage has ceased to be the cultural norm, being a caring, hard-working nice guy is no longer an adaptive mating strategy. If betas want any hope of sexual success, they have to learn alpha game.

    John Dolan's wonderful essay on Andrea Dworkin is relevant here:

    The male response to 70s feminism was horror from old fools like Mailer [and acquiescence from omegas like Dolan], but a tolerant smile from the cool dudes whose job it was to disarm and fuck the feisty ladies. Their stance was a slightly more subtle, coy version of "you're so cute when you're mad, honey."

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  6. Interesting debate. I will write a post about the two opposing positions. Whether or not feminism/Frankfurt school leftism hit betas more than alphas is related to the question who gains more from consciously using game...

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  7. @ totalesturnsJohn Dolan's wonderful essay on Andrea DworkinIt is well written and interesting indeed. The most important sentence, though, is this:

    "the sleazy agility with which normal Americans dodge the inconvenient implications of the ideologies they mouth during the day."In other words, there are only few people who ever really get touched by the memes created in academic discourse.

    IMHO, the "thinkers" of feminism or Frankfurt School Marxism are overrated concerning their actual influence on our culture.

    The true reason for the shift in female sexual behavior are the invention of birth control and the socioeconomic parity that allows them to freely follow their instincts.

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  9. @ krunal - yes, life ain't fair.

    I actually always thought that it is much more unfair to be born as an ugly woman. There is not much you can do about that (apart from expensive plastic surgery). You as a man can easily adjust your behavior by learning about what is deemed high status and thereby become a more attractive member of this sex.

    Of course, on the societal level this could still be a problem. You and me can learn Game and climb up the sexual hierarchy. But for anyone of us who does, somebody else will fall behind. You could imaginge an evolutionary arms race between men for the highest status positions, but experience shows that there are plenty of naysayers and guys who are happy with a beta male lifestyle.

    I believe it is women who will change the status quo. The decline in marriage rate is unbearable for them. The whining about lacking attractive partners who also are willing to commit is getting louder by the day. Feminism proved the power women have to change the world for their needs. The men's rights movement, on the other hand has achieved little so far.

    To your question - women are more desirable because the mating market is skewed. Men like beauty, and that is more common than high social status. And since women lust for few men, there is ample competition and compromise among the rest of men. All of this adds to the fact that men prefer "hit and run" with a multitude of partners while females are biologically determined to deal with the consequences of pregnancy. But you know all that, don't you?

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