Monday, November 30, 2009
My first thought upon reading it, though, is that it is astonishingly free from any mention of men. Sexual desire is treated by the writer — and apparently by the people described in the article — of being something wholly internal. Only on the last page of the six page article is the idea of sex as a partnered activity come up, and then only as a "conundrum" that "cannot be solved."
So this is where we have come to. People, especially women, are so convinced that individual empowerment is the end-all, be-all, that they have placed into isolation one of the few things that by definition requires another person, or at least the desire for another person. For a while, I suppose, these women got by on pumping their dildos mechanically, with no thoughts of love or lust. Now they can't even manage that.
Maybe these women can't feel arousal because they have no idea what it's like to be a natural woman. They can't feel sexual arousal — can't feel anything at all — because they are so sold on the idea of gender equality. The prospect of the natural, exhilerating, and fulfilling act of submitting to a worthy, dominant male has been completely swept off the table by the twin demons of the masculinization of females and the complete betastasis of the males.
The hilarious/sad part isn't that these women exist. It's that someone can write a six page article on the phenomenon without once considering the role of the male. Either he never even thought of it, and he's a brainwashed moron. Or he did think of it but opted not to mention it for fear of enraging the harpies of feminism, in which case he's a weakling and a bitch-boy.
Other than that, life's grand! Anyone see that drive by Vince Young on Sunday?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Yes, there are some actors, singers and other celebrities that are commonly seen as "hot" despite their obvious impersonation of what evolutionary theory deems unattractive to women. Does this disprove the core assumption of seduction theory: a man's non-verbal indication of high status is the ultimate aphrodisiac?
Of course not.
As we have repeatedly pointed out on this blog, fame equals pre-selection. And research shows that social proof is the ultimate indication of high (alpha) status.
Moreover, being on screen or stage means total reign of attentional territory (the alpha males ultimate kingdom):
A man can literally look like a gnome, or be a wavering loser who bites his finger nails, constantly cries and still lives with his mom but be hot as hell - as long as there is total control of the scene.
Brain scans reveal that people watching movies are literally synchronized in their brain activities. This is mostly due to the fact that each observers eye movements get drawn to the same spots on the screen at the same time (an amazing byproduct of good movie making).
In other words, actors in a movie (and singers on stage) have the power to direct the eye movements of all people present at the time. To the female (unconscious) mind ever screening for the top dogs among men, this complete control of other people's minds, this absolute reign of attentional territory will be proof enough of desirability.
More than that, if you watch movies carefully, you will notice that the screen writers (consciously or not) play with the female psyche by adding high status behavior to low status males in order to render them more attractive.
Typical examples include the frequent "transformation" of shy guys into ballsy heroes the moment their oh so adored girl gets into danger. The fact that such a drastic change of character would never happen in real life seems to be completely oblivious to most women (personal communications). Once you become alert to that motif, you will notice this pattern (a moment in the movie where the lead guy has to "proof" his "hidden" masculinity and thereby become attractive) in almost any movie that is not exclusively targeted at male audiences.
To find out how women truly feel about weak-seeming men, try your local bar. Observe the combined female reaction to the guys in "death row": the guys standing with their back to the walls, liquid courage in front of their chest, desperately ogling at the skank fest unraveling in front of their eyes. If you ever witness anything but complete disregard from the girls in attendance, drop me a line and I will edit this post.
If that observation alone is not sufficient, grab a girl and play "Fuck, Mary, Kill" with her. But be prepared for shocking revelations.
I have tried this exercise dozens of times when I was bored during a night out. The result always is the same. If you are atuned to social dynamics, you will be able to make out the few alpha males who the girl selects as shag-material before she even opens her mouth. It is even easier to spot the relationship-worthy betas (which, by the way, still get ignored by even the most desperate boy-friend seeking girls in favor of the few assholes in the audience). The true eye opener for the unitiated is the "Kill" category. It will unlock a passionate hate in the most sweet looking girls you can imagine. If you ever doubted if women truly loath omega males, don't listen to their words, watch their actions.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
What works better in getting 'ginas tingly - a perfectly tailored suit, or a tight shirt revealing pecs and guns?
The answer is, of course, context-dependent (and - that neither really matters since it is all about subcommunication when it comes to female attraction).
The accessories that help signal "alpha male" to women in a biker's bar are not the same as the ones that indicate "high status male" in a professional setting. More so, however, a man needs to be able to pull it off. Not every man can wear a suit and really look good in it. And a tight shirt might work against you rather than help if you are void of any muscle.
Just like stagetwo once said:
The key to being well calibrated is to having what it takes to pull it off.
I learned this as another lesson from Pierre, who pulled a lot of things of that most men can't. And the most impressive of them was the ability to be incredibly cheesy.
Pierre's approach to seduction was heavily infused by mainstream thinking. What he he took from the immense library of romance novels the he read was both, dominant behavior and an idealized sensuality akin to cheesy Hollywood "romance" that is often looked down upon by modern day seducers as "supplication".
Pierre woes women with food, wine, flowers and poetry. He is not afraid to tell them how beautiful they are (before they had sex). Pierre opens doors, pulls back seats, takes off jackets and even makes sure he walks on the side of the street that faces the cars. In other words, Pierre treats women as a gentleman in the book, even in situations where it seems an unnecessary favor to a woman. He does it simply for her being a woman.
In other words, Pierre seems to put women on a pedestal - and he gets away with it. Contrary to common belief, Pierre's kindness does not put him in the friend zone. Pierre manages to be a nice guy and a lover at the same time.
It is not despite Pierre's beta male gesturing that he is so successful, but because. Sometimes it is the opposite of high status displays that demonstrates real strength - such as laughing at yourself. A tyrant's most impressive demonstration of power is to be merciful to its fiercest enemy.
Pierre's success lies in the fact that his kindness does not get misinterpreted as weakness.
Pierre does not really supplicate. He is not trying to trade favors for sex. He is signaling that he has enough sex and the choice to walk away at any moment. His gentleman-y behavior is just a playful facade that he puts on to let women know that he can become their romance novel come true - for a night. It is a way to sub-communicate his deep understanding of female sensuality that promises her intense sexual experience.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The article features women who wear men's clothing and men who wear women's clothing. Not as "cross-dressers" or performers; and also not as feminists or gender-studies types. They're portrayed as everyday urbanites who can't see why they should be confined to just one half of the clothing department.
Ah, New York.
But Mr. Pham, 28, an engineer in Manhattan, thought nothing of combining stalk-slim jeans with a sweatshirt pinched from his mom and sexily sheared à la “Flashdance.”
What Dr. Ehrensaft has dubbed “gender fluidity” remains in her view a form of rebellion. It suggests, she said, that “younger people no longer accept the standard boxes. They won’t be bound by boys having to wear this or girls wearing that."You know what? I would argue that the "younger people" — these younger people in particular — have no clue what the standard boxes even are. Are people still rebelling against the 1950's images of masculinity and femininity? The "standard boxes" have been dead for over a generation now. No, these people are not rebelling against the norms of masculinity and femininity. These people have no concept of what those terms might mean outside of the lame stereotypes that gender studies departments and tv sitcoms offer them. You can't rebel against something if you never even believed in it.
They're like people sitting on the beach with their backs to the ocean, insisting it's a desert. That sound of crashing waves you hear is just an illusion forced on us by the patriarchy.
Women have been incorporating trousers, biker jackets and combat boots into their wardrobes since Amelia Earhart swapped her pearls for a flight suit. But increasingly, it is men who are making unabashed forays into mom’s closet, some for fashion’s sake, others for fit.Gender-fuck for the sake of rebellion or to stand out would be easier to handle. Young people have always and will always come up with stupid ways to rebel against the older generation. This is actually a healthy phenomenon, though of course it usually takes deeply retarded form.
But these people don't feel a thrill of transgression from invading mom's closet. They traipse in there feeling 100% at home, twinkle toes dancing, holding up various items and twirling around in a rapture of genderless bliss.
“In the streets I see young couples dressing almost alike, wearing slicked hair, peacoats, straight jeans or those longer T-shirts that are almost like a dress,” she said. Such a willful melding of men’s and women’s garb represents, she said, “a kind of evening of the playing field.”What? Evening of what playing field? The clothing field? Was it tilted in one direction or another previously? This is clearly a throwaway remark by the person quoted (Sharon Graubard, a senior executive with Stylesight, a trend forecasting firm in New York). It's probably not fair to jump down her throat about an off-hand remark. Nevertheless, it shows how thoroughly brainwashed people are to believe in the notion of gender disadvantage. If there is any way that something can be tied to traditional (you know, um, real) gender, it's assumed there must be some horrid, oppressive advantage that males have always lorded over the helpless females. The playing field must be evened! Again, Ms. Graubard didn't actually say this, and she probably didn't even think it; it's just implicit in her comment. Thinking otherwise is completely unacceptable in polite society today.
Mingling men’s and women’s clothing, others argue, is like waving a flag of neutrality. “It’s a way of breaking down sexualized relationships,” said Piper Marshall, 24.Well, here I can agree. It certainly does break down sexualized relationships. It takes away the natural polarity of male and female and robs people of the thrill of enjoying male-female differences. It deflates the cock and hardens the vulva and makes the whole thing into one big mushy, boring porridge of ill-fitting blazers and stretch pants.
There's another salient detail in this quote, though. Our gender-bender here, "Piper," is just 24. With that name and that age, I can easily picture a quite attractive young Manhattan girl. She might have a slender body, a pixie haircut and fresh, vibrant skin. When she puts on combat boots and a man's suit jacket, it's probably quite charming and sexy. Young people give off a pheremonal sexuality that powers through any attempts at masking it. Likewise, I'm sure some of the younger men featured in this article have enough raw sexuality to pull off dressing like teenage girls and still seem attractive to some women.
The problem these people will have is if they really buy into all the ridiculous nonsense they are spouting. If "Piper" tries to dress like a man when she is 34, it's not going to work anymore. And the men in this article — I'm assuming not all of them are gay — can have all the pithy one-liners about gender roles that they please, but if they try that mom's closet bullshit at age 40, no one's going to think they are "edgy," only pathetic and creepy.
Fall advertisements for Burberry show a succession of lanky, pallid men and women wearing what seem to be interchangeable coats.Again, I don't think that the cross-dressing is the cause of genderlessness. I think it is the symptom. People are so full of foggy, flavorless, false ideas that they drift away from their own physical existence. It's like they wish they didn't even have bodies, or that their bodies were otherwise constructed, by gray aliens perhaps.
“Obviously androgyny may not play in Peoria,” said Dr. Ehrensaft, the psychologist.Ah, the requisite NY Times sniffing at flyover country. Now the article is almost complete.
“But norms are shifting.” In her clinical practice, working mostly with teenagers and elementary school children, Dr. Ehrensaft said she routinely witnesses “a kind of gender fashion parade.”
“Kids, even little kids, are experimenting across gender lines. Boys are wearing My Little Pony T-shirts, just because they like them. Sometimes they like to dress in the girls’ section because the shirts are cooler.”
Adults have long dictated the way young people dress, Dr. Ehrensaft said. “But now the young are giving us a different dictation."
And here I think we can see the underlying message: that this is a good thing. Dr. Ehrensaft is a textbook product of liberal quackademia. I can't believe it's 2009 and we are still living out the Freudian psychodrama of the Baby Boomers. This shit is so tired.
Don't you see the subtext? It's good that adults no longer set the standards. Because adults are hidebound and evil. Children are innocent and wonderful and all things green and good spring from the ground of youth. Never mind that children are almost totally lacking in moral feeling. Never mind that adults have at least a fighting chance of picking up some wisdom that might be worth passing on. No, if junior wants to wear a My Little Pony shirt, so be it.
In the end, of course, as a man, this just makes it that much easier to turn women on. Dress sharp, dress like an adult, dress like a man. Even the women who believe in all this airy gender-bender crap — especially those women — will be drawn to you they know not why, like moths to a flame. Because gender is real, women are women, and they crave a man who is a man.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Of course, none of us is free of cognitive biases and inconsistencies, but the absurdity of people's beliefs often seems limitless. With one important exception: People tend to be very rational and realistic whenever it really counts.
Richard Dawkins once mused that in an airplane 10.00 feet above ground anyone turns into a realist. And the same is true when (a lot of) money is involved. Which is why it might not come as a surprise that the first signs of a change away from feminism in the media are within advertisements.
Ads need to work. There is a lot of money that goes into this industry, and the pay off can be measured most directly. As a consequence, advertisements are to the psychological study of manipulation ("persuasion") what airplanes are to aerodynamics: Proof of concept.
And so it goes that the idea of the attractive "sensitive guy" dies a slow death in advertisements.
Once again biology prevails, as the sexual urges of women can no longer be denied. We can tell ourselves that "gender neutrality" is a great thing and that women really just want a man who "listens", "cares" and "understands" - a guy who "treats her like a princess". But when the money is on the table, the bets will naturally end up on the bad ass motherfucker winning the game. Ads need to speak to your instinct. And despite all societal brain wash intended to file down our rough, male, trouble making edges, our guts still know that the nice guy always sleeps alone.
Take the Mac guy, for example.This emblem of what is supposed to be cool among contemporary thirty-ish urbanites is a picture book case of what is wrong with guys today: Poor posture, droopy eyes and a lack of muscle that goes great with his lethargic pothead attitude. There is something distinctly infantile about him. Take one look and imagine him talking on the phone to his mom for hours. Imagine quickly jumping to do the dishes if his girl tells him so. Imagine how he never fight but always talks things out. Problems imagining that? I didn't think so. Amazingly, there are moments where the PC guy looks more masculine than him.
The Mac guy ads are supposed to work because we all know that guy. We all like that guy. Mac guy represents the nice guy who happily helps us out with computer problems. He is not the type of guy we expect in high paid jobs. He is just the hip, friendly neighbor who makes you sometimes wonder if he's gay. So why do people still get annoyed watching him? It's because of incongruency. The problem is that Apple tries so hard to make him look cool. And in real life, Mac guy isn't that cool.
While the TV character gains some sex appeal via "superiority" over the clumsy, fat PC guy, nobody really believes that a guy like that would ever make the cut. Women do not feel on the guttural level what they feel when watching guys like George Clooney or Brad Pitt. This geeky Mac guy is simply ... too nice.
Google phone ("Droid") had to find some way to compete with that "cool dude" image of the Mac guy (surrounding the iPhone). And they chose the obvious. White got replaced by black. Appearance gave way to substance. Stylishness was replaced by ruggedness. And the metrosexual product personification got substituted by testosterone-drenched bad-boyish masculinity (take a peek here).
The shift away from the feministic ideal is too obvious to not get discussed. Amazingly, there is quite a bit of awareness of the true (sexual) nature of why the Stay-At-Home-Dad appeal of Mac guy will fail against the muscle'n'steel approach to manhood featured by Droid:
Sam Gustin at Daily Finance calls it "an interesting study in shifting attitudes toward popular male identity", with the "prevailing definition of 'geek chic' sex appeal ... ready to transition out". His analysis is fascinating: "The dot-com boom made being a geek seem cool. And Net and tech start-up entrepeneurs -- especially if rich -- suddenly began winning the favor of women previously viewed as unattainable." In other words, as geeks started to make money, women started to get interested. And the media mistook and embraced the fact that "sensitive" somehow became sexy.
Gustin understands that women never really were into these guys: "The Mac geek-chic image of male sexuality always remained tenuous, because the classic definition of masculine vigor -- tough, rebellious, dangerous -- never really went away, and probably never will."
And women's cries for "an edgier version of male sexuality" cannot be overheard any longer. After all they are the ones who make household decisions. Says Sharon Ross, the associate chair of the TV department of Chicago's Columbia College (who somewhat ironically holds a degree in women's studies): "Women have become stronger, they're looking for stronger men."
What we have done as a culture is toughening up girls while softening guys. Now nature takes its toll. A strong woman still craves dominance (in the bedroom) and masculine strength (of will) in the men she is with. Stronger women need even stronger men. But we surrounded them with guys who are willing to cry - since it is okay to do so if you are a boy, too.
And Ross, as so many women these days, knows: "Women are drawn to strong men, but I don't think men are ready for stronger women, they still find them threatening."
This sums it up nicely. As women become increasingly aware of their "biological urges", they will be less and less willing to"settle" for Mac-dude-ish nice guys. What we will witness is an increase in darker, "edgier" advertisements and product designs catering to the female need for brooding rebels. The pressure is on for beta males to live up to the new standard.
Monday, November 16, 2009
The biology department I was in had its share of stereotypical accessories such as Birkenstock's, self-knitted wool scarfs and Greenpeace bumper stickers, too. Interestingly, though, and in sharp contrast to any of the other departments, there was a notable decrease in stereotypical accessories as one got closer to graduation. The reason for that was that most of the (often female) students who had decided to study zoology because they "loved animals too much to become a vet who might have to put them down" had gradually dropped out.
Professors referred to this cohort as "bambi biologists", hinting at the idealized, romantic notions about nature that characterized this particular student population. Having grown up with TV documentaries that fade to black any time a predator actually catches a prey, this particular group of students was in for a shock when the reality of things got unveiled lecture by lecture, right in front of their eyes.
To the cold, objective eye of the scientist there is no such thing as "harmony" in nature. The evolutionary processes we witness in nature are the result of quite the opposite - a continuous, merciless struggle on the battlefield of life that gets fought with literal claws, blood and tears.
Nature is brutal.
By all evidence the cosmos is indifferent to our moral and aesthetic judgments. The universe doesn't give a crap about us. Nature - the mighty ruler of all our lives - truly is "deaf to our music, and as indifferent to our hopes as it is to our suffering or our crimes."
And a good piece of evidence for that are the manifold ways in which even the most desirable of women eventually lose their beauty.
The two main killers of a woman's beauty are:
- The bodily disfigurement arising from the female preference for sweet, fatty food.
- Time (quadratically!).
Both, lost youthfulness and a big belly are sexual no-goes for men. The first indicates decreased fertility due to aging gonads (in contrast to sperm, egg cells don't get renewed and therefore are prone to age-related tissue damage). The latter also leads to fertility issues since big bellies are either the result of pregnancy or at the very least make it hard for a guy to judge.
Guys with a genetic predisposition towards older or obese women thus ran into the risk of having no or another man's baby to care for. The widespread adoration of young, fit women is the result of this evolutionary pressure.
Given that, an obvious question arises to the inquisitive mind.
What is more attractive to men - a young, fat woman or an old, skinny one?
Logic would predict that fat girls have an advantage. The infertility caused by pregnancy is temporary, whereas the decreased quality of egg cells that comes with a woman's age is permanent.
So, who would you put your bet on during a dating death match? A sexy cougar or the freshman walrus?
This is a tricky one to answer. Most men work hard on hiding their sexual exploits involving obese members of the opposite sex. And given that many older women sport diamond rings, there is ample demand for discretion when it comes to any encounters with "the hot neighbor", too. Bars and clubs, as so often, are a good venue for field research in human sexuality. Yet, women are smart in their ways to the bedroom, and older women tend to aggregate/stay away from places with younger girls abound. Some small town bars, however, do not allow for this leveling of the playing field, and in these situations it can be remarkable how hard older women need to (and are willing to) work for an escorted walk home.
But things are not that simple. While it is hard to find any actual statistics on the matter, there seems to be far more porn out there sporting older women than obese girls. The reason for that seems obvious. Thanks to plastic surgeries, diet boom, make up, perfumes and other ways to "prevent aging", it has become much easier for women to "hide" their age and to thereby remain attractive to men than at any previous point in history. Man's sexual triggers are simple: perky tits, a slim body with smooth skin and full head of hair is all it takes to trigger a reaction.
The flip side is that there is little excuse for a woman to let her beauty fade away (more than necessary). Fat and age both can be combated successfully. Yes, it does take some effort. But, men are expected to keep working on their careers for most of their lives. And if you really think about it is mostly to become and remain attractive to the opposite sex. There is no reason why women should not be held to the same standard - even if is achieved by different means.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Men seduce women for all kinds of reasons.
Right and wrong.
I know several guys who went through a very painful break up experience in the past, and now try to avoid any future pain by reducing women to emotion-less sexual pleasure. Some of them have even come to hate women. They are the most successful, and they use sex as a way to live out their hidden aggression. And then there are men who claim themselves that they are addicted to sex. Their unquenchable thirst for quick satisfaction and adventure makes them stray moonlit nights like cats during heat. And then of course, there is the prototypical type of man who likes to foster a frail ego by "racking up notches".
But Pierre is none of that.
Pierre loves women. He really, truly loves women.
Pierre is one of the few men out there who are deeply fascinated by anything feminine and beautiful. The mere sight of a pretty girl makes Pierre light up, and he can talk for hours non-stop about about his perception of women as sparkling lights in an endless night of dark existence. The use of plural is important here. Pierre loves women. All of them. But he especially loves young, pretty girls with the a certain amount of class and sass.
Pierre's love borders on obsession. He never had a "real" job. He never even thought about "career", as so many other guys do at some point in their twenties or thirties. Pierre always did whatever he had to do in order to get the cash that is needed to survive (seducers don't need to die of hunger; last time I met him he sold used cars). Pierre has no incentive to climb the ranks as he has realized that jobs and money are not what gets women in his life (a dangerous insight for any man). And all Pierre really cares about is keeping a steady influx of women into his life.
Pierre's mind, free of the concerns that plague the majority of his peers, is constantly set on female sensuality. He owns an extensive collection of romance novels. Each of which he had studied meticulously to gain insight into the inner workings of the female mind. At some point he bought a suit and a brief case to camouflage as modern day businessman. This enabled him to inconspicuously ride the NYC subway for hours at a time. He felt that this close up vantage point gave him an ideal opportunity to study the object of his desire. Thanks to his massive investment, Pierre slowly developed a deep understanding of the other sex. And he uses it. To make fantasies real.
When I first Pierre, he was introduced by a mutual friend. He struck me as a slim, short man in his late twenties with longish, brown hair and a dark complexion. His parents were French and Italian. The resulting mix of accents really made him sound like a romance-novel protagonist come true. He wore lose, all white clothes, white slippers and a rather cheesy gold necklace. His aura was such that all this condensed tackiness somehow looked classy, stylish and tasteful on him. He nervously flicked his gold wrist watch while he spoke.
Pierre's friend introduced him as a "natural", a guy who is successful with women without conscious effort. Given Pierre's decade-long effort to understand the female psyche, this is somewhat of an overstatement. But what is interesting is that Pierre is a self-taught seducer rather than a member of the seduction community. We encouraged Pierre to share some of his insight, and what followed was surprising to any of us.
Pierre's key to success is playfulness. His interactions with women are a steady trip into the world of fantasy. He likes to "call" a woman on his virtual cell phone just to talk (or have public phone sex) with her. And he turns an average date into a visit at his "own" five star restaurant, constantly jumping from one role to another (from bouncer to waiter to owner to "guy who will fuck you tonight").
Pierre combines this approach with deep sensuality. His own hedonism makes it easy for him to get women to swoon over his play with their senses. I have seen Pierre show up at a bar with a bottle of red wine, telling women that he will only uncork it if he finds a beautiful body "to lick it from". He also carries a pair of red ribbons at all times. They either serve him as blindfolds (in combination with real or imagined chocolate), or as makeshift ties. Pierre is proud that women usually trust him enough to let him tie them up at the first sexual encounter (he prefers using his belt for that).
Once Pierre learned about PUA, he got hooked. He must have felt lonesome and misunderstood for most of his life, and suddenly he came in touch with guys who seemed to share his fascination and obsession. More so, they would listen in awe when he recalled his various stories, advice and philosophy.
Of course, Pierre's autonomously derived ideas about what works and what doesn't were far from the science-infused hypothesis of the seduction community. He smiled at the idea that women would be drawn to men like silver back gorillas, and joked any time someone was making an obvious attempt at "being alpha". It was a classic case of "unconscious competence". Whenever I saw Pierre with women, he would take charge; grab their hands and have them dance, change location or do other things to his liking. Behind his small, frail statute and metrosexual appeal, he hid a deep masculine core. Pierre was no whimp.
It did not take long until word got spread about "this guy". Pierre's claim to fame was the way he approached women. At a bar or club, he would walk up or stop any girl that he deemed worth the attempt, sneak up to her, embrace her closely and whisper in her ear that he would "love to fuck her". He had some more tools in his arsenal (such as paper flowers made of napkins), but by and large that was it. Pierre basically did the apocalypse opener (a truly frightening experience for most men) - but with the ease and comfort of the seasoned pro. Pierre's motto was the 3W's: "Some Will, some Won't so What?". But he often got what he wanted. Multiple times a night. Right there at the bar.
The last time I met Pierre, I bumped into him at a local bar. He had just tried his line on the girl I was with (after I had prepared her for that). And when he recognized my face next to her he started smiling and used his arms for full body contact. I noticed black nail polish on his fingers. He explained that he now worked as a pickup instructor and that he was "demoing" for some of the guys who paid for the workshop. After a brief chat, he went on and started talking to girls again. It didn't go great. Something had changed.
The black nail polish was a sign of doom. The man who had unrivaled success with women had lost faith in his own beliefs and started acting on those of others. More so, however, he had made his passion his job.
Psychologists know well that adding external reward (such as money) tends to paradoxically diminish a person's intrinsic motivation. It is for this reason that children often stop painting if parents start giving them sweets in return, and so many musicians stop losing interest in the art their performing. If you belong to the lucky ones who discovered things in life you are truly, really passionate about, and someone offers you an opportunity to make money of it remember my friend Pierre...
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I'm an old-young bastard. I've been around the block once or twice or 78 times. I write on this blog, which I love to do; and I read all the others, which I kinda like too. I don't want to put the beautiful woman on a pedestal, because no person warrants that, young or old or male or female or beautiful or ugly. I don't want to confuse her physical beauty with actual moral dignity. Moral dignity is something that all humans are born with in some minimum amount, and something we must all earn much more of if we wish to be more than mere children.
I read the Spearhead, and it is good. I read Ferdinand Bardamu, and it is good. I read Roissy in DC and sometimes it is really, really good. I'm sure if I search back in the archives, I can find the praise of beautiful women per se in all those sites. I know Roissy has written on it, and for all his haters, his passion for beautiful women is more real and human than any dry, analytic criticism someone dribbles his way. This is all prologue just to say: please don't bother me in the comments with warnings that I need to "get past my Madonna-Whore complex" or that "Women are the devil," or that they are the moral equivalent of children. Yes, yes. I know, dear friends. But a life lived without joy is a sad plot of dry sand indeed.
And what brings me joy? Lots of things... when my team wins, when I get fuckloads of money from a new contract, when the cheese tastes just right, when I touch down in some new city I've never seen before. Above all that, a beautiful woman brings me joy.
There's nothing like a beautiful woman with curvy hips and a sweet smile. The way she talks, the way she thinks. She turns her head to one side and her mind flashes back over all her experiences, good and bad, before she answers a question. The shape of her nose, be it straight or curved or hooked. That inconceivable brilliance of her hidden smile when she shyly laughs at something you say.
A beautiful woman is truly irreplaceable. I don't mean that one girl is irreplaceable (although sometimes she seems that way). Of course it's a vast sea with plenty of fish. I mean that a beautiful girl, whoever she might be, gives me a happiness that no other being can't quite fulfill. That's why I can't really be a "Man Going his Own Way." I like women too much.
Learning about the way women really are, the way they really think, is 100% indispensible. Putting them on a pedestal because your heart swoons is a terrible mistake, one most of us have made at one time or another. But an equally terrible mistake is to let yourself swing so hard to the other end of the pendulum that you hate women. Good God, don't hate women. They're so lovely, they offer so much. As long as you aren't confused as to what, precisely, they offer, you are safe.
Beauty is a good in and of itself. I'm not an environmentalist, but I sympathize with those who try to preserve beautiful vistas. They might often have their priorities confused, but a thing of beauty has value in and of itself. One should not deny this, on penalty of forfeiting one's soul.
The best women I have ever known have an appreciation of their own beauty. They value it. The best women I have known aren't self-absorbed or arrogant, but they have a deep knowing of the value of their own loveliness. It's not a cynical knowledge of the value it gives them on the dating market (though, if they are smart, they understand that, too). It's more of a an aesthetic appreciation of their own sweet existence. Just like the best men I have ever known have an appreciation of their own dignity, and by extension their "beauty" as human beings. Human excellence is a jewel-like thing. A great slam-dunk is just as elevated as a perfect pas-de-deux. If I ever throw out the baby with the bathwater — if I ever lose my love of beautiful women because I've become so cynical about sex relations — well then, it will be time to hang up my spurs and call it a game. (Count the mixed metaphors!)
Even the current struggle between feminists and realists is just another episode of the greater drama of the beauty of life. Sure, I take sides. I take the side of the realists, firmly and enthusiastically. But I just can't become such a partisan of any side (feminist or realist, atheist or theist, Democrat or Repulican... the list goes on), that I let my partisanship rob me of my joy. To know it's all a game and to still partake anyway: this is the best way I've found to live my life.
And thanks to Jah or Allah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the beauties keep coming my way. I relish their eyes, their arms, their lips. Their beauty may not earn them moral dignity, but it gives them worth. Real, honest worth. And when someone hands me a satchel of gold, I'm not about to throw it in the river based solely on some calcified notion of "principle." Praiséd be the beautiful girl, and praiséd be the life that lets one enjoy her. That's what all this is about, after all.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
EvoPsych studies leave little doubt about it. At least on a smaller scale. In each case of paternity theft, there are several people who would profit from a man's ignorance. It's him against many: The cheating woman will be able to keep his commitment and resources. Her relatives are interested in keeping that arrangement, too. And last not least the baby itself.
None too surprisingly, then, both mothers and their relatives have been empirically shown to manipulate a man's belief in paternity by commenting on the baby's resemblance with the "father". It is important to note that this is a flat out lie, since other studies demonstrate that people in general have a hard time matching infants with their fathers based on physical resemblance alone.
The reason for the latter is that newborns have evolved a clever mechanism of "concealed paternity" (ever wondered why they all get born with blue eyes?). The mere existence of this phenomenon is testament to the high rate of cuckoldry in human ancestry: babies who looked too much like the alpha male who actually fathered them got weeded out thanks to infanticide (read: the rage of beta male providers who got a rare glimpse of reality).
But, what is the actual number of children that get born to (presumably ignorant) non-biological Dads?
One of the most commonly encountered numbers, that seems to believed by the majority of the population, is 10% (!). However, the most credible sources typically add a huge confidence interval and thereby end up with meaningless estimates, such as 1-30%.
More recently, a meta-analysis of international studies claimed to have resolved the issue, by adding another factor - paternity certainty. The authors concluded that "for men with high paternity confidence rates of nonpaternity are(excluding studies of unknown methodology) typically 1.9%."
Even though this number is twice as large as the lower (1%) limit provided in common estimates, it could explain why studies disagree since the number these researchers found for low confidence fathers resembled the upper limit of 30%.
We don't know the fraction of high vs. low paternity certainties (it is likely to correlate with socioeconomic status; studies find that the rate of non-paternity is inversely related to house hold income), but its conceivable that averaging across such a bimodal distribution would result in the commonly quoted 10% indeed.
What's suspicious about the study is that the abstract does neither mention the mind-blowingly high rate of non-paternities for "uncertain Dads" nor the fact that for this reason a population average will be substantially higher than the 2% rate found in the "confident" sample, but instead states that their finding is "substantially less than the typical rates of 10% or higher cited by many researchers."
This does not sound like the authors were ambivalent and hence objective about the outcome (no wonder: studies who claim evidence against conventional wisdom in science make researchers famous).
Neither do others, who picked up the study and selectively quote more data that seems to support it (no wonder: there is a societal bias towards downplaying cuckoldry and paternity fraud).
So, can we take away from this that a man is "in the clear" if he feels like he can trust his wife (pretending that your chances of getting bitterly betrayed in 2 out of 100 cases is not a threat)?
Let's crunch some numbers here. A lot of data on this issue is freely available on the internet. But first, let's look at the caveats:
- DNA testing is the only way to know for sure, but DNA testing is always biased.
The reason for that is that scientist cannot just ask random people to join a study on non-paternity.
The samples usually obtained are either from "low confidence" samples, i.e. sent in by men who have significant doubt on their paternity. These samples are often forced upon women in the course of law suits etc.
Other samples are from "high confidence" groups, who happily engage in the study since they "feel safe". It is important to note that this relates more to how the women feel (!) than the men's sense of security. It is common sensical that women who will feel that the DNA test will cause trouble are likely to refuse participation.
It follows that the "bimodal distribution" in the above study is likely to result from this sample bias towards the extremes rather than a true representation of the general population.
Some DNA-based paternity studies tackled this problem by obtaining random samples, and using indirect methods to estimate an underlying pattern of non-paternity:
Randomly obtained DNA from people with the same surname (Sykes) in England found that "almost half the sample shared the same Y-chromosome haplotype, which has not been observed in control samples either from the same geographic region or from the United Kingdom as a whole. This points to a single surname founder for extant Sykes males". Behold the power of alpha! The authors, however see this as evidence of a surprisingly low rate of non-paternity (1.3% per generation). The question remains whether this holds true for the descendants of lesser men too.
DNA-screening for hereditary diseases revealed an informally communicated non-paternity rate of 1.4% in the British population (a study using similar data from Switzerland comes to an estimate of 0.8%). This sample is more prone to bias since the women were explicitly made aware of fact that the test could reveal cuckoldry and even asked not to join in case they feared such an outcome. The British doctors claim that only 1% of women chose that exit route. And another 1% refused to join for other reason. Note that this was not a random sample across the population, but people who sought medical help for their children.
Another genetic study using a large data set of blood samples collected for a different purpose in Hawaii came up with an equally low estimate of 2.3%. Again, the sample was not fully randomized, but required the consent of participating families.
- Other methods of estimating paternity rates are less direct but are void of any bias.
Scientist had some great ideas how to "indirectly" test for paternity fraud. Some of these include:
ratings of emotional closeness - estimate of non-paternity: 12,6%
actual investments of kin - resulting estimate of non-paternity: 13-20%
investments of grandparents - resulting estimate: 9-17%
blood typing - of a Mexican sample - resulting estimate: 11,8%
blood typing a native tribe (the Yanomamo) - resulting estimate: 9%
routine blood typing at birth (unpublished) - despite the unreliable nature of this approach, this remarkable data set is the closest to mandatory paternity testing; the resulting estimate: 10%
What's remarkable about these studies is that they all point to a number close to or higher than 10%, which a much narrower confidence interval. It is unclear whether this reflects the unbiased sample, or the fact that fathers and kind would benefit from an overestimation of non-paternity.
Now, many of these estimates are based on human instinct, which in return is based on what happened throughout evolutionary history. It is conceivable that the lower results in (unbiased) DNA test are due to. During the past decades things are likely to have changed drastically when it comes to infidelity. The advent of chemical contraceptives is likely to have raised the rate of cuckoldry while lowering the rate of non-paternity.
Reliable data on adultery is even harder to find. According to a wide survey in Great Britain, 10.1% of "committed" women had sex with at least one more partner in the past 12 months. This matches other self reports that made it into the scientific literature (6.9-13.8%). However, note that the actual rate is likely to be much higher. Other studies have shown that when it comes to sex partners, women tend to cut their numbers in half.
Given their gossipy nature, all these findings are fine material for cocktail party conversations. From personal experience I can say that the most frequent reaction by women still is denial. It is likely that this will change soon as it becomes harder and harder to look the other way. My prediction is that women will then switch their strategy from "not true" to "not a big deal" in order to save the status quo. And his trend has already started.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
We had just spent several weeks on learning Mendelian genetics, and the day's course was planned to be on the immune system. More specifically, we were supposed to be introduced to the topic of blood groups. The human immune system works by differentiating foreign from bodily substances by scanning the surface of any object within the blood stream for "antigens". And arguably, the most famous antigens are the ones that coined the blood types: A, B,O and the rhesus factor.
During previous years, students were encouraged to pinch themselves with small needles and use a drop of their own blood to test their blood type. This sounded cool, but our teacher was trying hard to find an alternative exercise, so the whole class tried talking him into letting us to the exercise.
As our assumption was that the reason it got banned was either based on a previous generation abusing the "pinching devices" and/or some overly anxious parents threatening to sue the school, we pointed out that we had a nurse who was licensed to draw blood. Our jaws dropped when our teacher revealed that the law suits were not about drawing blood per se. The reason the government scrapped the lesson on blood groups was that its curricular closeness to the Mendelian laws of inheritance got a "considerable" fraction of students to find out about a certain discrepancy between them and their Dad's.
This is quite remarkable since blood group testing is not even a good method of paternity testing. Using that system, most non-paternities go undetected.
One of the reasons we were so shocked is that the very same biology curriculum taught us about females being being biased towards monogamy due to their need for a man's resources to help raise her kids. Males on the other hand were expected to cheat or run away from commitment.
This belief was a hallmark of "ethology" - the early science of animal (and human) behavior, founded by Konrad Lorenz and others (a pre-cursor to sociobiology and evolutionary psychology).
Lorenz had been the head of a big research institute associated with my school. His influence was still palpable. He was a controversial character due to his ugly involvement with the Nazis, who helped him significantly in his career and adopted some of his ideas on "domestication".
Lorenz was convinced that humans "degenerated" beautiful wild animals by domesticating them into livestock and pets. In his view, this "artificial selection" (by selective breeding) lacked the power and virtue of the "natural selection" that reigned in evolution. What Lorenz abhorred was that as result, these animals seemed fat, sick, ugly and unable to survive on their own in the wild. To the delight of the eugenics-friendly Nazis, it was a small step for him to conclude that humans were going down the same route by domesticating themselves.
Lorenz got famous by literally living with wild geese. He was always dressed in out-doorsy clothes, and fitted a beard since being a young man. Part of this demeanor sure was a clever way of "selling" his major findings (such as imprinting) to the general public. After all, you don't win the Nobel Prize just by doing good science. But part of this behavior was certainly based in his genuine belief that everything "nature" and "wild" was somehow more "noble".
One anecdote that circulated at my school was that Lorenz liked to point out that wild geese were almost romantically "faithful", while domesticated geese had degenerated into a Sodom and Gomorra of animals. For Lorenz, who always tried to find an evolutionary explanation of behavior, the only logical explanation was that the domesticated females (being fed and all) had lost their incentive to be selective, and therefore started screwing around liberally.
It soon turned out that this does not sit well with reality. Geese, domesticated or not engage, happily in "extra-pair copulations". It is just that the females are rather sneaky. in fact, they are so sneaky that even the guy who lived with them 24/7 failed to see what was really going on.
This hasn't changed to that day. Researchers nowadays use DNA testing to derive the rate of cheating in monogamous species by estimating the rate of non-paternity since it is far more reliable than observation. Ironically, much of this research was done at the very institute that Lorenz directed in his senior years.
We now understand that the initial belief that females select for resourceful males (as optimal mating strategy) is just part of what's going on. The inherent paternity uncertainty of mammalian males can easily be exploited by females by "frauding" them into raising offspring of other males. These "other" males typically use their resources for mating with many ("taken") females instead of committing to one. Since these "parasitic" males are likely to have more offspring than the providing ones, females fare well in confiding with them. This phenomenon is so common in nature that males of all species have adopted mechanisms to combat non-paternity.
Yet, this widely accepted piece of scientific knowledge still has to make it into mainstream. Most people believe that women are "naturally" more monogamous and commitment-seeking than men (despite all evidence to the contrary). Given that, it seems almost paradoxical that anything questioning this assumption gets suppressed. After all, obligatory DNA testing and school curricula that enable pupils to derive their parental lineage should do no harm if mainstream belief is true.
Although it is obvious who profits (and who doesn't) from the status quo, one can only wonder what would happen within future generations if we taught our kids biological insight into the rules that govern mating behavior instead. There are few instances in history where people got hurt by scientific revelation. But one need not go far to find suffering due to false believes (and suppressed scientific results).
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This is not as surprising as it sounds. The same absurd phenomenon has been well established to cause people to believe that having children makes them happy, while it clearly doesn't.
It might also aide men in trusting an unfaithful wife.
How can that happen? How can we blind ourselves staring into counter-evidence?
Well, as a wise man once said: "Intelligence is the most fairly distributed resource on this planet. Every one thinks he's got enough of it."
People do not just like to believe that they are smart, they are convinced of it. We are so certain about our own ability to great judgment, that any evidence to the contrary gets dismissed. We are quick to even confabulate when necessary, just to avoid admitting defeat.
This gets particularly dangerous when our own (poor) decisions get social support. And the common societal lies about the "fulfillment" of marriage (or having kids) will help any married man find tons of reasons why things are great, even when his lifetime happiness is at a low.
Things are not much different when it comes to female infidelity. Society makes men believe that is them who are "pigs", constantly on the hunt for quick satisfaction. Women, they tell us, are interested in long term relationships, stability and commitment (with a few "sluts" being the only exception). It follows that the main danger to a broken vow of monogamy is a man's wandering eye.
A man facing evidence of a cheating wife, thus finds himself in the familiar situation of cognitive dissonance ("I am not the kind of guy to fall for a slut!"), supported by outdated societal gibberish on human sexual behavior.
A recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior reveals the direct result from this peculiar situation: When estimating the rate of non-paternity (the frequency of children born as the result of cuckoldry), men will provide significantly lower numbers than women.
Even more interestingly, married men and men with children produced lower estimates of paternity fraud than their bachelor counterparts.
Of course, the causality is unclear. It is conceivable that the type of men who tends to marry and have kids is generally less cynical than the guys who shy away from commitment. It is also possible that bachelor's have a biased idea of female sexuality, since they see how women behave outside of relationships (and if they engage in affairs, they inevitably deal with women who cheat).
More so, the authors even speculate that although men should have deep (evolutionary-rooted) interest in the realistic assessment of the "discrepancy between social/legal paternity and genetic paternity", "women may have an enhanced ability to assess paternity and may have superior insight into women’s sexual infidelity". In other words, women know about themselves and how likely they are to cheat, whereas men are left in the dark.
Either way, a rather parsimonious explanation for why married men and fathers have high(er) belief in female fidelity is the cognitive dissonance that could ensue from assuming the contrary.
This is somewhat surprising. Cognitive dissonance is not necessarily hurting a man's ability to procreate when it comes to marriage and children. On the contrary, a man's naivety when it comes to his fatherhood should be facing considerable evolutionary pressure (i.e. men who were too trusting got weeded out during evolution).
One way to find out more about this issue is to relate the estimates to actual rates of human on-paternity (it could be, for example, that even men overestimate its occurrence and therefore still are in the evolutionary "go"). As the authors point out, we still lack any good data on that one. There is a vast discrepancy between "indirect" methods such as emotional closeness or the testicle-to-body-ratio, and actual genetic data (which will always be biased given that it inevitably stems from distrusting/consenting parents).
The authors point out that there are likely is cultural and socioeconomic variation in the actual rate of paternity fraud, but conclude from a large body of literature that 10% is not too far off. If that is correct, most married men lie to themselves when it comes to female infidelity.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Evolutionary biologists just published a study on spiders (the awesome looking Latrodectus hasselti, to be precise) that sheds light on an interesting possibility of how beta genes prevail in the game of life.
The researchers were concerned about finding an actual "female decision rule" for sexual selection. This is still rather unexplored territory, and even if a preference is revealed (such as that for male power among female homo sapiens), there is ample struggle for quantifying the observation.
It turns out that female spiders are not that complicated. The male spiders seeking sex just need to make "the cut" of ~100 minutes of courtship (which romantically consists of tedious sound-producing plucking on her web). Males who fail to put in that time happen to get eaten - a phenomenon that some scientists with adolescent humor termed "premature cannibalism". Once past the 100min point, this almost never happens and hot spider sex ensues.
The twist to the story is what happens when another guy crosses the scene. Will the female spider wait another 100min before accepting the approach? Well, as it turns out:
"Females do not distinguish which male satisfies the threshold"
In other words, if one spider fumbled on her web since 50 minutes and gave up, any less strong spider male got the goodies after a mere 10 minutes of courtship. Even more, if the previous guys actually passed the threshold, the intruder got to mate right away!
The researchers termed the phenomenon "courtship parasitism" and defined it as the "exploitation of mating efforts by rival males".
The important part to note is that it is a direct consequence of female decision thresholds, and the lack of a mechanism to attribute that to individuals. As the entomologists note, this "may lead to selection for lower-quality males".
What does that mean for the human mating game?
The first question to answer is whether women possess a similar threshold in their sexual decision rule. This is likely to be the case, since women tend to not initiate sex right away. Some form of courtship is usually involved.
The next question is whether or not women do attribute the courtship to individual males.
Intuitively it seems that women attribute sexual attraction to individuals only, but some empirical observations prove otherwise.
To understand why this is happening on needs to make a distinction between a woman's horny-ness, or "buying temperature" and her "attraction" to a man. It is simple. A woman who is very turned on might be willing to have sex with someone she is not that attracted to.
It thus seems possible, that guys who are rather unattractive to women (given their low social status), can get laid by cannibalizing an alpha male's courtship. Vice versa, any man can save energy by waiting for a woman's buying temperature to go up over the course of a night to jump in once she is close to her decision-making threshold.
If the above mechanism were big in ancient times and really play a role in the establishment of a stable equilibrium between alpha and beta genes, low status guys should have evolved a natural tendency to "recognize and seek out (rather than avoid) situations in which competitors are already present".
Most guys, however, avoid approaching groups where other males are present (the infamous "cockblock"). Yet, being in deep conversation with a woman at a social gathering is no guarantee against hecklers. There seem to be some guys indeed, who specialize in ruining another man's attempt (this happens often enough that guys came up with a large arrays of so-called AMOG tactics to disarm a heckler).
It is likely that heckling guys have a decent amount of success by cannibalizing another men's mating attempt. Repeated success will turn these guys into regular buying temperature bandits (think: Wedding Crashers).
So what can we learn from the spiders?
One one side, it should be easy to use courtship parasitism to your advantage, as most guys do not approach mixed groups, and AMOG tactics are easy to learn. On the other side, it is important to learn how to prevent this from happening to yourself. Quick isolation and some basic knowledge on buying temperature (which works differently from attraction) are more effective than lame attempts at befriending or dominating guys who try to steal your girl.