Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Overqualified

When a girl perceives that you are out of her league, she requires a different approach. This perception could be accurate (you simply will never be attracted to her or interested in her in any way), or it could only be the result of a temporary situation (she perceives you to be out of her league because your status is so high).

Women are just like men in that they jealously guard their own status. If they make an inner calculation that something is going to cause them embarrassment, they will immediately shy away from it. We all know that men feel this intensely when it comes to talking to pretty women — classic approach anxiety. Half the posts on PUA blogs are about this topic, it seems.

Well, women have an equivalent mechanism. It's rarely a conscious thought process. It's rather more of an instinctual, self-rationalizing knee-jerk.

Imagine a social group with 14 women and three men. Two of the men are gay. This could be a community theater group, say. Now if that last remaining straight man is at all attractive, at least a few of the women will be attracted to him. But of those women, some will naturally be hotter than the others. Women are constantly calculating their social status... constantly. And if you hear a woman claim that's not true, she doesn't even think about that kind of thing, ask her if she has to think in order to make her heart beat.

If one of those women perceives that she has very small chances with the man, she will often go out of her way to disqualify herself. This could be in the form of coldness, sarcasm, aggression, or simply keeping as unseen as possible. She can tell herself that the reason the man didn't choose her was because of her own actions. This story is also a plausible story for her to present to her peers. She saves face in the social group and she keeps her ego intact within.

A man may also end up "overqualified" in the eyes of a woman in a different kind of situation. It doesn't have to be a skewed sex ratio that does it. For example, if a man has a very high status within his particular industry. I'm thinking here more of a high "cool factor" or "wow I wish I had your job" factor; not necessarily power or money. Both Anthony Bourdain and a junior VP at a big bank make a lot of money. But Anthony Bourdain's job is way cooler to a girl who is into cooking and traveling.

It's very possible for grown women to get awe from afar, just like a schoolgirl. Some signs of this are self-deprecating remarks, and she seems embarrassed to talk about your work but can't seem to stop asking questions, etc.

Rock stars get this all the time. Losers never get it. Men somewhere in the middle will get it from time to time. The more interesting and active your life is, the more often you will get it.

What to do when a girl has overqualified you and disqualified herself in her mind? Be nice. The initial work of attraction was already done for you. Or rather, you did it, but you did it when she wasn't even looking... building your career, becoming an awesome guy, etc.

So you don't need to neg. You don't need to be arrogant and overconfident and dominant. She's already attracted. You are already in the comfort stage with this girl; or you should be. The key is to make her feel like there's some shared conspiracy going on. In the case of the one girl among many, seek her out, plop down beside her and start venting your frustrations about something random. Ask her for her insight. Make her feel that only the two of you understand the world in just that way.

In the case of the girl who admires you from afar, find out something about her that makes her unique (anything, it could be the smallest most insignificant thing). She played the clarinet in 4th grade. Whatever. And talk about that. Make her feel special. Really, this is comfort stage 101. The important thing to realize is that you have attraction out of the way. Don't act like a beta chump, of course. But you definitely need to tone down your game significantly.

4 comments:

  1. Fine! If you guys don't wanna comment on my beautiful, seamless analysis of social dynamics, I guess I will just tell you more sordid stories about lesbians and making out with 17 year old girls!

    Bunch of salacious grubbers!

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  2. Please, no more posts about 17 year olds! :)

    I think it's a really great point you make about being overqualified (there was a guest post about this on our blog recently), and it's something that a lot of guys miss.

    A lot of guys (and I've made this mistake myself) will tend to have a lower opinion of themselves than is actually the case because they find that not only are the most attractive women not into them, but the least attractive women will act coldly to them as well. They then interpret this to mean that they are so unattractive that even ugs don't like them, when in actuality it means that the ugs feel that you're so far out of their league that they go out of their way to be mean to you to protect their egos.

    Tying this idea to male approach anxiety like you did in your blog post is something I hadn't really thought of before, but it makes a lot of sense. Being nervous and not approaching really attractive women is way for guys to protect their egos from being rejected by women that they feel are higher value than them.

    It also explains why really attractive women often have lower self-esteems than you might expect, since most guys don't approach her as often as her objectively less attractive friends, which messes with her confidence.

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  3. Another reason for men to overdo attraction is that they are closet attention-whores. I know because I have been there (well, still are) myself.

    There is thrill in the brief moment where you realize a desirable woman's attraction towards you. Her nervous laughter, the widening of her eyes to an insecure, admiring look, the playful touch of her hand that almost turns into a caress and the flick of her hair to reveal the flesh on her vulnerable neck.

    The sense of status and power a man feels in these peak moments of flirtatiousness can be an addicting drug, especially for guys who are new to that experience. Its the reason why some guys talk themselves downhill, joke after joke, after having evoked an initial laugh at their companies' happy hours and business dinners.

    For some men, advanced age seems to make the effect even worse.

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  4. This dynamic is very real.

    Calibration is the key.

    ReplyDelete