If an alien learned about our world from browsing the internet of beefs, they would be under the impression that a bitter war is raging between the sexes. All you read about are toxic men and manipulative women fighting to entrench the patriarchy or gynocracy (respectively) and subjugate the opposite gender forever. Men and women are not merely failing to connect, they are fighting a zero-sum conflict without compromise.
This sentiment seems to be coming from the extremes of the political spectrum, the very progressive left and the very conservative right. Humans aren’t naturally drawn to cooperate with those of other nations, races, classes, and tribes. But most of us are drawn to seeking mates of the opposite sex. So those who fight the culture, class, and identity wars, why do they also fight the gender war?
This question touches on every major theme of this blog: my deep fascination with romance and dating, my model of politics as a horseshoe, my entreaties to seek cooperation and resisting polarization. Above all, my penchant for explaining complex phenomena using simple mathy models.
And so: I will try and explain what happens when mating meets politics using a speculative and overgeneralized model. This is a descriptive account of what I think is actually happening, not a moral sermon. There will be charts, and memes, and dating stories.
Woke Women, Dangerous Men
The immediate trigger for this post is the recent article about The Dangerous Rise Of Men Who Won’t Date “Woke” Women by Vicky Spratt. The article lists the signs by which ye shall know them: men who list “no psychos” as a requirement on their dating profiles, this one guy who described Jordan Peterson as his “dream dinner guest”. But a few paragraphs later, Ms. Spratt is talking about MAGA, 8chan, and mass shooters.
I know quite a few guys who are terrified of dating woke women. Let me paint you a picture: nerd, works in tech or journalism, voted for Hillary and is now debating between Bernie and Yang, hooked up with a trans woman once, thinks that Sam Harris pwned Peterson because religion is dumb, asks for verbal consent before kissing on the first date. Not quite the stereotypical right-winger. The real right-wingers can barely distinguish between the “woke” and the moderate liberals. They instead complain that all women are brainwashed by “The Cathedral” into refusing to date
conservative real men. Basically, it’s the same article but with the signs flipped.
My friend Holly reasonably asked: why don’t woke women consider it a favor that dangerous far-right lunatics avoid them? And then it clicked: it’s all about the sex ratio.
In this post, I’ll talk only about heterosexual relationships, since sex ratio dynamics don’t affect gay people in this way. I will also treat gender and sex more or less interchangeably and as a binary because that’s what all the research on politics and sex ratios does. Also, because it makes the math easier. I’ll focus on the US and UK because those are the societies with whose political tribes I’m familiar with (although math works the same in Macedonia).
In short: if you feel that this post is a mathematical abstraction that doesn’t represent your lived experience, you’re absolutely right. Sorry. No need to spam the comments.
Markets and the Ratio
A mating market is a group of people who, among other things, are looking to mate: sleep with, date, and/or marry each other. Markets don’t necessarily involve money; bees and flowers are in a nectar-pollination market. Markets are about matching up two or more groups who provide value to each other, one’s supply to another’s demand.
The mating markets of different individuals are never quite the same, but they overlap. Your city, culture, social class, hobbies, favorite subreddit, familiarity with mail-order bride websites — they all define the set of people you are likely to meet for the purpose of mating.
Each participant in the market has a market value: how attractive they are as a partner. Attractiveness is always about more than looks. Status, intellectual traits, knowing to play the guitar, age, money — these all affect attractiveness. Most importantly, value is defined by the market: how many people of the sex you’re looking for are interested in what you offer, and how many of your competitors are offering the same or better. A woman with a Ph.D. is much less impressive in Boston than in Des Moines. Six-pack abs on a man are much rarer in Memphis than in Los Angeles. And it’s not just because Angelenos are fitter. It’s also because Angelenos are more male.
The ratio between men and women in a mating market is the most underrated force shaping mating outcomes. It’s underrated because it’s not directly visible except in extreme cases. But the downstream effects of a skewed ratio are very visible: one of the sexes has more choices, and thus it has a lot more power.
There are three important aspects of how the sex ratio affects dating.
1 – The sex ratio affects norms around dating
Studies ranging from 19th-century Utah to 21st-century college campuses show how populations respond to skewed sex ratios. Where there is an excess of men there is less premarital sex, men invest more in long-term relationships, women marry young and to richer husbands. Female majority leads to a culture of sexual promiscuity, fewer traditional dates (which the man pays for), fewer long-term relationships.
Opportunity costs affect economic decisions even if the opportunity is never taken advantage of. Similarly, even people in exclusive long-term relationships feel the effects of the prevailing sex ratio on male vs. female investment and on promiscuity vs. commitment.
This doesn’t require that all or even most people prefer the dating style stereotypical of their sex. As long as there’s any difference in preference on average, the minority sex will get to dictate their preferences more. We’ll get back to this important point when discussing age and politics.
2 – Skewed sex ratios breed resentment towards the minority sex
From the college campus study:
Our results suggest that women on campuses where they comprise a higher proportion of the student body give more negative appraisals of campus men and relationships […]
We would expect women on campuses with higher proportions of women to report that men are less willing to commit and less likely to treat women well. This is indeed what we find. On campuses where women are more plentiful, women are more likely to agree that men are not interested in commitment and are not to be trusted. Moreover, women on these campuses expect less from the men they date, find it harder to meet the right kind of men, and do not find many attractive potential partners on campus.
When women complain that “there aren’t enough good guys out there”, half the issue is that there are too many women. The real complaint is usually “there aren’t enough good guys for me“. Of course, the same obtains for men who complain about the deteriorating quality of women, not noticing the deteriorating sex ratio that’s at the root of their predicament.
3 – Being the majority sex sucks more than being the minority rocks
What is it like being a guy in a 45/55 mating market? (I’ll quote all sex ratios as the ratio of men to women, so 45/55 means 45% male). In short, not much. If you’re the median guy on some generalized attribute of attractiveness (23rd out of 45) you might match with the 23rd-most attractive woman out of 55, the 58th percentile woman instead of the 50th percentile if the ratio was balanced. It’s not a big difference. You’re more likely to have casual sex and be able delay commitment, but a lot of guys prefer steady partners to one night stands anyway. The same goes for women in a 55/45 market.
What is it like being a woman in a 45/55? It’s the anxiety of knowing that you have a one-in-five chance of ultimately not finding a partner. It means fierce competition with other women for guys, which makes intra-sex friendships more fragile. It means not feeling secure in a relationship because your partner’s BATNA is so much higher than yours. If you’re not very attractive or very idiosyncratic, it’s that much worse.
The same applies to men in a market where they are the 55% majority. It sucks.
Moving out of a mating market that’s skewed against you and into a balanced one is a lot more important than moving into a favorable one. As long as the ratio is not skewed against you, it’s better to find a market of people that match. That’s why you see a lot more advice telling single young men to GTFO of the Bay Area than advice telling young women to go west for boyfriends unless these women are particularly interested in polyamorous nerds.
Moving into a mating market where you’re the minority is not opportunistic, it’s altruistic. The opposite sex will be very happy to have you. Even if they don’t personally date you, you’re taking their competitors off the market and improving the ratio.
There are many ways to break down the political and culture war landscape. A relatively comprehensive and rigorous attempt is the report Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape by Hawking et al which I’ll use as my main reference point.
Wow, the political distribution of Americans surely looks like this thing, you know, the thing you put on a hoof.
Hidden Tribes breaks Americans into seven groups, identified by clustering their opinions on various political issues as well as their level of engagement in politics. The three liberal tribes comprise 34% of the population, and they are 55% female. The two conservative tribes comprise 25% of all Americans and are 57% male. The remainder are politically moderate or disengaged.
Within the liberal tribes, the Progressive Activists (which I identify as “the woke”) are younger, whiter (!), and are twice as likely to have 4-year or advanced degrees as the rest of the country. They are in line with Traditional and Passive Liberals on police brutality, immigration, and distaste for Donald Trump. They stand out from other liberals in their stance on male and white privilege, their attitudes about free speech and political correctness, and in their lukewarm feelings towards men.
The latter represents an important asymmetry between the far left and the right. All other tribes have more positive feelings towards both genders than the woke have towards men. Another difference is that Progressive Activists are much more likely to endorse attitudes such as “People’s outcomes are outside their control“, 86% vs. a mere 2% of Devoted Conservatives.
Furthermore, within the Progressive Activist tribe, there are big gender gaps on gender-related issues. 19% of woke men agree that “Men and women mostly have the same chances at success” but only 1% of woke women do.
This is not a recipe for a happy dating market. And it gets even worse.
An Age-Old Question
It is a fact of dating life that women prefer men around the same age as them, but men prefer younger women (on average). In fact, men’s preferred age gap grows as they get older.
Again, this is not a male universal. From high school until now, almost all the women I’ve dated were within two years of my age on either side. On the other hand, Leonardo DiCaprio has enforced a hard cap at 25 years regardless of his own age. Even if the skew is driven by a minority of men it will still mean that women in their early twenties will experience a favorable mating market with many suitors, while women in their thirties and older will experience a mating market slightly skewed against them. At the very least, their list of potential suitors does not include Leo.
As you recall, youth is correlated with wokeness. Even if they’re the majority sex in their political tribe, young Progressive Activist women can play in a favorable dating market in their twenties. But as they get older, things begin to change.
This is a chart of the dating market for liberal men and women. Liberals are 55% female and 45% male, which is represented on the chart by 11 women and 9 men.
In their early twenties, life is good for woke heterosexuals of both persuasions. The men have plenty of female peers to flirt with in class and at rallies. The women get plenty of attention from older men, which balances out the sex ratio.
As they enter their thirties, several things start going against the women in particular.
- A rising number of people pair off and leave the dating market, making all imbalances more pronounced for the singles that remain.
- They receive less attention from the older men who like their women to stay the same age.
- The age preference bites them a second time when some of the liberal men turn out to be DiCaprios themselves and switch to pursuing women in their early twenties.
- More men than women transition out of the very liberal tribe, at least in their dating preference. In part, these are the men who were never as on-board with the gender politics of the Progressive Activists. And in part, because Progressive Activists are likelier to be white and educated and when white educated men hit their thirties they tend to start making good money. A rich white man may prefer to date outside of the tribe that treats “white”, “man”, and “rich” as synonyms for the outgroup.
- Finally, there are more gay men than lesbian women and more male-to-female transsexuals than female-to-male. These are all likelier to be members of the liberal tribes. This further reduces the number of single, woke men-who-date-women available.
And so the women who stay in the Progressive Activist tribe have two options: read Sana’s guide for women dating women, or face a dating market that is suddenly very skewed against them.
Ms. Spratt, the author of the article about men who don’t date woke, is 31, single, and “grateful to be financially independent and living in a time where it’s acknowledged that you’re better off on your own for a while than trapped in an unhappy relationship.” So that is the third option: going your own way while writing articles about the men who keep out of your mating market.
I hope that this doesn’t come across as mocking. I find this genuinely sad. I strongly believe that relationships are preferable to aloneness. The predicament of Ms. Spratt and her fellow progressive sisters in their thirties is a result of mating market dynamics, not of unusual malice on their part. In a sad irony, the progressive tribe is the one sounding the loudest alarm bells about the negative outcomes that arise from unchecked market dynamics. Ha ha.
These dynamics are also quite independent of the merits of progressive ideology on its own. Whether the world is indeed shaped by the privileged elites oppressing the rest of humanity or not has no bearing on the numbers. But, progressive ideology does make matters worse for women because of its belief that people’s outcomes are outside of their control. If you believe that, you will be a lot less likely to improve your situation through your own agency (such as by moving to more favorable markets). Given that the gender imbalance of the political wings is unlikely to change by itself, those who don’t help themselves won’t be helped by circumstance.
But wait, it gets even worse.
If you recall, skewed mating markets make the majority sex resentful of the minority (quite reasonably, you may add). And a feature of the woke tribe is resentment of men: that men have an unfair advantage, that they have more power, that they exploit it for their own good.
And in the woke dating scene, this is absolutely 100% correct.
I have gone on a few dates with very progressive women who spent the entire time complaining about their mistreatment at the hands of men. And while I have real compassion for their plight, this topic isn’t going to light a romantic spark on a first date.
And so, the vicious cycle runs:
- Female-skewed sex ratio, which leads to
- Men having more power and taking advantage of it, which leads to
- Women building resentment and complaining about men, which leads to
- Men leaving the mating market for places where their sex is more welcome, which leads to
- An ever more skewed mating market.
This cycle is mirrored quite symmetrically on the opposite end of the gender war horseshoe. The manosphere keeps going on and on about hypergamy — that all women are focused on the tiny sliver of guys who are hot, rich, and popular, and that the average guy is left holding his junk. This seems somewhat incongruous with all the broke, average-looking, medium-status men I see going on dates all around me.
But then I realized that the manosphere is just that, a community of mostly men. Guys who are ideologically aligned with the various flavors of the red pill are more likely to be in male-majority mating markets such as the two conservative tribes (57% male) or the libertarian gang (63%). These men may think that their dating market encompasses all political tribes, but women aren’t stupid. Both genders have a strong nose for politics and ideology when looking for partners.
The women who choose to remain in the dating pools of red-pilled guys know that they’re a hot commodity and can choose from the best partners. These men created hypergamy by their own efforts.
This also explains why politics and culture war extremists tend to espouse a view of relationships as a zero-sum power struggle.
In the politically-moderate gender-balanced middle, neither men nor women have a dim view of the other sex and neither has the power to dictate terms. Compromise and cooperation lead to the best outcomes, in Congress and in the bedroom. But on the sex-skewed edges, the minority do what they can and the majority suffer what they must while building seething resentment. Political conflict theory turns into gender conflict theory.
If you’re a woman in a very progressive mating market or a man in a strongly conservative one, you’re likely to care a lot about the ideological fidelity of your potential mates. This is for two reasons:
- People on the extremes of the horseshoe are more strongly devoted to their position. Ideology plays a bigger role in their life and makes up a larger fraction of their identity. They want a partner who matches that fervor.
- They know that a partner who is less devoted to the tribe has more options — they can always betray the cause for a cute centrist. An ideological partner has fewer options and is more reliable.
What kind of man signs up for dismantling the patriarchy? What sort of woman embraces the red pill? Two types: the true believers in the creed, and those that were attracted by the generous sex ratio and the opportunities to exert mating choice power. It is very important for the true believers to tell the two apart, and the mechanism for doing so is exhaustive and exhausting virtue signaling.
In 2014 I went on a date with a teacher at a Bronx public school, an intensely progressive social environment. One drink into the evening, we had the following astonishing conversation.
Me: You went to Metropolitan Comedy Club? I did my first stand-up set there. It’s quite embarrassing and also on YouTube forever.
Her: You do stand-up? Who are your top 5 comedians?
Me: I don’t really keep lists, but if I had to put one together it would be Nikki Glazer, Jerrod Carmichael, Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, Pete Holmes. How about you?
Her: [Names 5 dudes].
Me: It’s cool that you’re a comedy fan.
Her: Wait, there were no women on my list!
Me: It’s fine, it’s just the comedians you like. I’m sure your favorite novelists are mostly women.
Her: How can you say it’s fine?! It’s not fine! This sort of attitude is why it’s so hard for women to be represented in comedy!!!
I’m not entirely sure what happened. Was my failure to punish defectors worse than the norm-breaking itself? Was I automatically in the wrong because I’m male? Was she just signaling her wokeness to me, lest I think that she doesn’t sufficiently care about women’s issues? One can imagine that in her social circles, she’s as worried about being “found out” as not woke enough as she is about purity-testing men.
Interestingly, despite this catastrophic failure of virtue signaling on our part, she was quite willing to continue our romantic dalliance. Tribal politics are strong, but so is horniness.
Choosing Sex or Sex Politics
Emma Sulkowicz became famous as Columbia University’s Mattress Girl, lugging a 50-pound mattress around campus to protest the university’s mishandling of her rape allegation. Whatever happened that night in Sulkowicz’s dorm room, Columbia found no evidence base to take action against the man accused by Sulkowicz and even settled with him out of court for gender discrimination.
The affair put Sulkowicz in an interesting position. On one hand, an inspiration for women survivors of assault and a symbol of #BelieveAllWomen. On the other hand, a reputation that is likely quite intimidating to potential sexual partners, even of the most progressive sort.
And so, 5 years after she picked up the mattress, Sulkowicz is “attending house parties and happy hours with conservative and libertarian intellectuals, reading Jordan Peterson and articles from the National Review.” She talks about the importance of understanding a variety of political attitudes, of listening with an open mind. What triggered this change in attitude? In Emma’s own words: “This story starts with me being on Tinder […] He was very blond, law school, cut jawline, trapezoidal body figure, tweed suit kind of vibe, but something inside of me made me swipe right, I don’t know.”
Art, humor, altruism, ideology — everything we do is guided by our psychology, and our psychology evolved by sexual selection. And so everything we do is driven by the desire for reproduction (apart from actually publishing psychology papers). It’s often not the immediate cause of our actions, but it’s always in the back of our brains and in the chains of cause and effect guiding us. “Something inside us”, as Ms. Sulkowicz says. And when our brains sense that our behavior (such as adherence to a political ideology) is costing us in the mating domain, it’s cause for internal conflict.
Since I’ve left business school and come to NYC, I’ve significantly softened my stance on economic questions. I’m a lot less dogmatic about free-market ideals, and I see a lot to like in the economic platform of someone like Andrew Yang. Did I happen to read more smart articles to my left on economics? Or did I happen to flirt with a lot of women in NYC, almost all of whom are to my left on economics? Perhaps I sat down to read those articles because I met those women. It’s impossible to disentangle the two. I only have one brain that I use for both dating and thinking about economics, I bring all of it to both endeavors.
An ideologue would be horrified by someone “betraying the cause” for the sake of something as base as getting laid. I’m equally horrified by people choosing an ideological stance, one that is most often purely about signaling and has no impact on the world, over pursuing a romantic connection.
Ideally, people find a compromise. The day I started writing this post the trending hashtag on Twitter was #HotGirlsForBernie. Attractive women are posting sexy selfies all over in support of a socialist candidate. Wat means?
Bernie Sanders’ main rival in the progressive wing of the Democrat Party is Elizabeth Warren. Warren leans heavily on gender and identity politics, and her supporters are disproportionately female and old. Sanders leans on class war and socialist economics, he is the best polling candidate among the young and the male.
The young liberal women, those that are interested in their own popularity among young male progressives, have taken notice. Tweeting for Bernie, name dropping Joe Rogan or Sam Harris, putting books by Camille Paglia or Jonathan Haidt on their shelves, these are the ways that young women signal I’m liberal, but I’m not too woke to date. And the brave ones admit to having watched some Jordan Peterson videos too, just out of curiosity.
What happens to those who refuse to compromise? As a mating cohort gets older, those who are willing to relax their ideological stances for the sake of relationships pair off and leave the market. That leaves the politically obstinate, who are faced with a shrinking mating market mired in virtue signaling and a sex ratio that gets more skewed by the year. They become even more convinced that the opposite sex is using its power to oppress them, and their personal experience confirms it.
These lonely partisans are a minority of the population, but they are active in politics and media. I’m convinced that a lot of discourse about the “gender wars” and polarization of men against women is driven by those at the edges of the horseshoe, especially as they leave their twenties behind. In the exhausted moderate majority, men and women seem to be getting along just fine.
And so let us get back to the original question: why is Vicky Spratt complaining about the men who don’t date woke if she despises them so much? Because every man who forswears woke women is one fewer man to take a female competitor off the dating market, one fewer opportunity to balance the ratio. It’s one fewer lifeline that would allow Ms. Spratt to keep her ideology and her mating value without sacrificing either.
The real article should have been called “The Dangerous Decrease in Moderately Liberal Men Who Are Willing to Date My Woke Friends Who Compete With Me for the Last Few Single Woke Guys in Their Thirties”. Perhaps Ms. Spratt is not the woman to write it if she is genuinely happy with her political convictions and romantic situation. In any case, the original magazine is certainly not the venue to publish it — one-sided polemics sell more ads that discussions of real, painful trade-offs.
But I don’t have ads to sell or ideologies to promote, I just do math and go on dates. I certainly recommend it.
81 thoughts on “The Skewed and the Screwed: When Mating Meets Politics”
I wish I read this 10 years earlier before I accepted a job in a tiny mining town up north with a 70/30 ratio. Pays well but doc says I’ve got the worst case of tennis elbow he has ever seen.
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My wife would have fulfilled none of the checkboxes for what I would have wanted in a girlfriend before meeting her besides “female” and “finds me sexually attractive.” For example, she voted for Trump and is likely to do it a second time.
She’s also the only girlfriend I’ve ever had. Was I desperate or just pragmatic?
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based wife. be grateful she took pity on you.
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I do apologize! This site doesn’t seem to allow for commenters to delete their own comments, or I’d take care of it myself. Please do delete mine.
Really nice article, thanks for writing it.
While I was reading it, all I could think was that it resembles a prisoner dilemma in some cases, stay with your beliefs and have a lower expected outcome, or defect (allowing a more moderate political view or going against the age expectations) and you will reap more benefits, and it is exactly what you describe happening.
But, I thought that the age game representation looked a little misleading, because the graphs for the age preference focus on the preference limits (the strong lines), but the real behavior depends more on the color graph, where men still prefer younger women, but women also gets more flexible in the age range and accept more young suitors (I’ve never used OKCupid, so I’m not sure if I understand the distinction correctly, but reading the link article, which is great, by the way, it seems to agree with my understanding).
I guess it applies more to the moderates, since the extremes already are unbalanced to make the age defection not worth/necessary.
Then, it makes your (??) case for getting a little weird, and rejecting some social conventions, a great strategy to pursue when looking for a romantic/sexual partner.
“My favorite comedians include…(Nikki Glazer, Sarah Silverman)”
I would appreciate a trigger warning next time, thank you.
You have made some good points about the importance of sex ratios and vicious cycles perpetuating the tribal divisions. Unfortunately, many claims seem to “prove too much”, lead to oversimplifications, and run contrary to the available evidence.
A. There is a bitter war between the sexes, because westernized societies no longer maintain the more or less stable gender equilibria. We have entered the race to the bottom, and the individual efforts to coordinate can’t overcome the Molochian war of attrition. All of this happens because of diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and technological factors, ranging from the normalization of radical feminism to the impact of social media.
B. Personally, I doubt the existence of patriarchy and gynocracy. Our society is, however, driven by gynocentrism aka feminine-primary social order (manifested in biased divorce and alimony laws, mandatory quotas and benefits for women in the workplace, disproportionately little interest in the treatment of deadly male cancers and conditions caused by endocrine disruptors in men, the official recognition of toxic masculinity paired with the non-recognized concept of toxic femininity, conceptual weapons like mansplaining/manspreading/male gaze, and the ever-present cliche “men [unjust suffering likely inflicted by the gynocentric bias], women most affected”).
C. Loud extreme minorities play a major role, but the problem is way more complicated than simple political divisions. If red-pilled bros largely overlap with GamerGaters, they are quite left-leaning (see: https://i0.wp.com/media.boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/khkghk.png?w=970 , source: woke BoingBoing). Many (if not most) incels are ethic men with leftist inclinations, but opposing the elevation of socially harmful aspects of female sexual strategy. There’s also a separate subset of incels who, to survive in progressive circles, practice denial, pretend to be proud male feminists and try to signal being attractive by bullying intellectualy honest incels. Aggressive far-righters are pretty successful even with woke women – it’s really all about male looks and dominance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN8w7lUMc1o
D. Genders were neither created as equals nor as eternal enemies, but designed to compliment each other. They are capable of coordinating for the greater good and mutual happiness under the sane circumstances that collapsed (see point 1), and because they collapsed, everything is embedded in a zero-sum power struggle. Intersexual strategies related to mating and bonding must be competitive in principle – otherwise sexual selection wouldn’t make any sense!
E. Personality traits and characteristics other than dominance/low inhibition play a negligible role in male dating success. It’s high time to stop perpetuating this harmful myth:
F. Sex ratio is less important since the mainstream push for polyamory, as women can now simultaneously share “hot cads” while obtaining support from “dedicated dads”. The contemporary dating market for (serial) monogamists also enables women to compensate for skewed ratios. Many desperate men found on dating apps are willing to relocate, and women can dictate harsh conditions, because replacing the boyfriend with one of her multiple “orbiters” is way easier than a typical guy’s challenge of finding a new girlfriend.
G. Obviously, it’s a bit more nuanced in most cases, but the key point is that hypergamy on cultural and technological steroids easily overrides many difficulties faced by women. Dating apps are now the primary way people meet (https://web.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/Rosenfeld_et_al_Disintermediating_Friends.pdf), and even if real-life contexts are better for men by the entire order of magnitude (a very daring claim), then it’s still pretty much horrible.
H. I’m glad that you noticed how long-term relationships are also affected by the sex ratios and dynamics.
I. My main objection to your central recommendation is that while some sort of centrism might be an effective cure to political polarization, it is unlikely that men and women becoming “centrist on gender issues” will lead to more love and less hate. Why? Because they won’t agree on the Overton window range and thus the middle way rules. In the not-so-distant past (think 10 years ago), the unspoken compromise seemed to mean long-term, equal-engagement monogamous relationships between the “percentile looksmatches” – which is all contemporary, well-adjusted manospheredudebros ask for. If we’re going to define the current default centrist equilibrium as few men orbiting one woman (lower by 1-3 points on the decile scale of looks and other desirable qualities) plus half the systemic misandry, then I see no future.
J. Regarding the “hidden tribes”, I wonder what the answers would be if questions were more specific. For example, I believe that the fate of a low-status, sensitive straight white male in the progressive environment (San Francisco, academia) will be largely beyond his control. The advice to relocate to alleviate loneliness also sends a bad message: young, talented nerds with noble motivations and elementary self-respect should not stay in the Bay Area and work on technologies that will hopefully help the entire humanity, as they are advised to move to the Bible Belt and date with women in their 30s. Men earn and succeed too much, so they need to be excluded through diversity quotas – but then there are not enough economically attractive men, and it is still somehow their fault. As you can see, there are no individual solutions to systemic problems like these, and the baseline state gets worse.
K. Consider the possibility that woke women past their “prime” (18-30) usually retain many of the nasty sentiments and conceptual weapons. Even more importantly, they long for the passionate lovers from the party years and often resent the resourceful guy they had to settle for, as women generally reject less attractive men after facing rejection themselves by the attractive ones (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550615584196?journalCode=sppa).
L. Evidence supporting the existence and crucial role of hypergamy is indisputable. These include dozens of peer-reviewed papers, largely authored by atheist liberal Jews, so dismissing them as some sort of conservative/right-wing propaganda is unjustified. The claim that manosphere created hypergamy is absurd – the causation goes exactly in the opposite direction! The entire premise of pill spectrum is that romantic idealism (aka “bluepill”) devastated so many men of good character because they were blind to the hostile dynamics hidden by the regulated, friendly, cooperation-fostering dating market. (All of this is in line with the observation than most of the manosphere is jaded/commercialized/pathetic thrash, with 10-20% of valid information)
M. Women don’t actively embrace the red pill beyond the declarative knowledge; this would be equivalent to men intrinsically excited about making efforts and providing resources without any reciprocity (as in humiliating fin-dom, not as in good deeds). What you meant might be closer to a phenomenon pejoratively known as “trad-thotism” – women using the same attention-seeking strategies coupled with “I’m not like all these progressives feminists!” and “Outgroup bad!”. Reasonable men recognize this tactic, but many still fall for it.
N. What happened on your date is a typical rationalization. All people rationalize to various degrees, and when it’s coupled with the gynocentric bias professed by women, it’s often called “the female solipsism”. The same mismatch between the declared and revealed preferences occurs in case of complaining about men not dating woke women, or considering women and children as the primary victims of war. You can’t point it out, unless you want to be labeled as a misogynist for optimizing for truth rather than the social desirability bias.
O. When it comes to Sulkowicz, be cautious – they’re now non-binary and use they/them pronouns. Memes write themselves: a purple-haired social justice activist with a liberal arts degree got away with a false accusation, provoked some #MisandristHatemongering, built a career based on cynically exploiting the serious issue of sexual abuse, and ended up adjusting beliefs to the alpha male when “party years” come to an end. And we’re supposed to conduct the public discourse as if there were absolutely nothing dangerous, socially harmful, or even slightly problematic about some aspects of non-male sexuality in the modern world.
P. Overall, I appreciate your noble intent, a call for mutual understanding, and the idea that genders are probably better together than alone. I’m just afraid this can’t and won’t work at this stage. The market is rigged, vicious cycles cannot be stopped, and traumatizing is way more efficient than un-traumatizing. Even if we assume that genders have now an equal potential on the equal playing field, it is women who exhibit way higher automatic in-group bias (http://doi.org/10.1037%2F0022-3518.104.22.1684) and cooperate much less in Prisoner’s dilemma games (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001691817305917).
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So on the one side is all the stuff you posted, and the other are millions of generations of ancestors that endowed us with a desire to form at least medium-term partnerships with the opposite sex and the millions of humans who fall in love and get married each year. So, cooperation or conflict? It’s always going to be a bit of both. Politics and sex ratios are not the only thing, but they do matter on the margin when all the above is taken into account. In non-mind-killed communities with balanced ratios, you’ll see quite a lot of cooperation.
Zooming in to the individual: even if women do differ from men on some negative trait X (d=0.1, p=0.049), there are still huge distributions on anything. You can select for women who are low on X, especially if you don’t waste your selective power fighting a bad ratio or filtering out women who don’t match your political ideology. And if you actually try to find these women, instead of trawling studies proving that these women don’t exist.
This lengthy comment and your point are not mutually exclusive. You can have a history of species’ continued existence with many happy couples in the past and present times… plus an undeniable evidence base explaining the contemporary collapse. Our last century involved such extremes as senseless world wars killing millions and the perspective of mutual assured destruction vs doubling the average human lifespan and conquering the space. Human nature is indeed a mixture of cooperation and conflict – but when it comes specifically to intersexual strategies, their cores were always conflicted, because that’s how sexual selection works. Men have way higher variance in reproductive success (Bateman’s Principle), because women select the top tier.
Click to access 1203.6231.pdf
This evolutionary tension was alleviated by multiple factors. Monogamy has been a thing for the last 10 centuries, the Industrial Revolution raised the quality of life, and human rights empowered many low-status men. The lack of effective contraception and STD treatments, less biased family laws, and less interconnected world (through mass traffic and internet) incentivized both genders to seek long-term partners since the early age, more or less locally and within their attractiveness brackets. Was it a great status quo? Of course not, but it fostered cooperation to the point when men became partially blind to the underlying battle of the sexes, starting to believe in things like “having a good heart matters a lot”, “you’ll receive as much love as you put in a relationship”, or “you’ll be loved first for who rather than what you are”.
Now, is there anything controversial about the claim that the current combination of factors (radical feminism, the pill and plan B, gynocentric laws, declining monogamy, social media and Tinder) not only leads to the shift towards the default intersexual tension, but may exacerbate the conflict even more? You would need an external corrective force to somehow redistribute the relationship agency from women to most men, so that everybody has realistic chances within their attractiveness decile and can enjoy the beauty of human connection, but we all know it’s never going to happen.
As for the individual traits: there are hundreds of such differences. Some are small, some very pronounced (e.g. the female attraction to Dark Triad traits and high financial status, heightism or hybristophilic tendencies). You can invest a lot in improving your looks and status, and then spend lots of time, money and effort searching inside the favorable dating market, only to fail sooner or later because unilateral expectations and bad tendencies rise rapidly and globally. Genuine “I’m-not-like-the-other-girls” outliers are rare and taken. You can’t outsmart the worsening market built on the 80-20 principle. As men make more efforts and stop when they’re unbearable (costlier and more humiliating than the full romantic exclusion is painful), the hypergamous window shifts to select from the updated top tier.
I get the importance of ratios as one of many factors, but I can’t see how encouraging a young nerdy IT rationalist to reject the science, abandon the West/East Coast, move to Alabama and date woke women past their party years is anything else than a recipe for disaster.
J, do you have a blog or Twitter I can follow?
“You would need an external corrective force to somehow redistribute the relationship agency from women to most men, so that everybody has realistic chances within their attractiveness decile and can enjoy the beauty of human connection, but we all know it’s never going to happen.”
What do you think about 1. legalized and regulated prostitution and 2. hospitals being legally required to privately offer fathers a paternity test without the mother’s consent?
Jacob, you’re reading bulletin boards about the Red Pill.
You never read bulletin boards about the Red Pill.
Red Pill bulletin boards are (almost) full retard.
The center of mass in Red Pill thinking these days is VERY reasonable (presuming lack of full retardation.) It’s modern Paul Elam:
1. The LAWS are slanted against you. As is society. And the application of said laws
2. Women tend to solipsism towards men when times get tough… and sometimes when times are easy. This is a genetic fact.
3. Women are entitled & in-group biased even when not solipsistic. This is a genetic fact.
a. If you are going to date, you need to be VERY careful & screen VERY thoroughly & kick toxic women (i.e. solipsistic women i.e. women who view you as an object of utility or disutility) VERY quickly.
b. Do not marry as you cannot predict future female behavior & the laws are ludicrous.
c. Only have children if it is your chief life goal, as this will make you legally a woman’s …. tool… and even so you may be denied your children
d. Dating very lightly/using escorts/not dating is a very valid option (“going your own way.”) You will miss out on some joys but have a safer overall Bayesian distro for life outcome.
Dispute any of those facts.
They are facts after all.
This is a good article, but I find your egalitarian knee-jerk rather silly. You treat matters of men & women as if the LAW never intervenes. That’s rather foolish.
It may be helpful to know that I’m 55 & have DEFINITELY fulfilled the criteria for the old saw “you can know women or you can love women.”
I like a fair number of women. I love very few.
This really rounds out the model nicely. I should have made a distinction between the combative gender warriors on each extreme, and those going their own way. A lot of woke women decide that partnering up with a men is just too dangerous in a patriarchal world and do the solo girl boss thing, and their mirror image is everything you wrote above.
As my previous post suggests, I’ve been willing to go on dozens of dates with very little screening.
a. The amount of “toxic” women I encountered could be counted on one hand.
b. The amount of times the LAWS had any impact whatsoever on our relationships was exactly zero.
c. If my wife leaves tomorrow with half my net worth, I would still be happy to have spent the last several years with her.
My goal in life isn’t to maximize money or reduce variance, I’m a human and not a money-market ETF. My goal, among others, is to know women and to love them ;)
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Here’s a question I have for men who think family law is biased against them. I think it’s relatively uncontroversial that the law (in the U.S.) isn’t explicitly gender-biased; rather, it treats people differently by role. So why not adopt the stereotypically feminine gender role if you think women are treated much better? There are no absolute guarantees in the family courts, but if you make less money than your partner, your chances of being ordered to pay alimony are drastically reduced. Similarly, if you’re worried about losing custody of your children or paying child support, you can reduce that likelihood by switching around the usual gendered allocation of childcare. In the average straight couple with kids, the woman does 80% of childcare and housework. A man who is willing to do even 50-60% will be in a much better position to argue for custody. Better yet, change jobs, go part-time, or drop out of the workforce to care for kids.
If that seems like a lot of unfair sacrifice that would put you in a very precarious position if you ever had to support yourself without a partner, it might help you understand why 70s feminists argued for these policies, whereby the spouse with less money more often gets alimony,* and the spouse with more demonstrated willingness to care for kids more often gets child custody.
*Alimony is much, much rarer than guys on the Internet assume, but assuming the existence of alimony, the woman more often receives it.
Because adopting the “stereotypically feminine gender role” makes men less likely to get married in the first place. Women prefer to marry men who are more stereotypically male.
Wrong. The law is biased against men regardless of how they behave.
I really feel like there’s something here you’ve tapped into, but I also think there’s a gap when you say things like “They know that a partner who is less devoted to the tribe has more options.” Do they know? While I agree that less ideological partners have more options, affecting the market ratio, I don’t think you’ve shown how this comes to play a role in the feelings and decisions of the ideological partner. It seems like you’re positing a group consciousness in a way similar to assertions like “men instinctively punish feminine men because they challenge masculinity” or “women punish women who are sexually provocative as a matter of intrasexual competition,” without explaining how such a political instinct would evolve. Without explaining this causally (and I think that -evolutionary psychology- is functioning as a mysterious answer here), this post feels somewhat just-so-y.
As a sidenote, I have some input on the influence of partners on ideology, ha ha. Being with my partner has moved me noticeably to the left on social issues, and I also can’t disentangle how much of that shift is because of a boost to the warm fuzzies I have for her opinions, how much is because of reading things due to the boosted warm fuzzies, and how much is because of new reading independent of changes to warm fuzzies! Notably, however, previous partners haven’t ever really shifted my ideological views / cracked my stubbornness ;).
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Jacob, you’re doing a disservice to any thoughtful moderation the world needs right now. The way you reply to criticisms (omissions, false equivalencies) assumes a simplistic bothsidesism and the equal, egalitarian playing field with a symmetrical will to do anything that will result in the redistributed relationship agency and satisfaction. While some things are both sides of the same coin, gender dynamics are certainly not.
Just look at your Tweet (https://twitter.com/yashkaf/status/1222394205332496384) distorting the statements made in this comment section. You’ve summed up more or less this position:
“there are multiple aspects of female sexual strategy that, when boosted through technology, culture and other trends as right now, produce lots of negative consequences, here are studies” and “for many good but isolated men who could be very desirable 10 years ago, odds are now so unfavorable that dating women doesn’t pass any reasonable benefit-to-risk threshold, here are stats”
“you don’t get it, women are awful, stay away from them!”. Was the goal to dismiss a detailed but challenging argumentation as a generic misogynist ranting?
Stereotypical Wicca cat ladies banning white men and indulging in “50 Shades” during wine-o-clock are not the mirror equivalent of wounded men opting out of the rigged system. The best arguments for supposed patriarchy involve Fortune 500 CEOs, a single-digit pay gap, and overgendered harassment (https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/12/04/against-overgendering-harassment/). All of these are easily debunked through multivariate analyses done during the Debunking Cathy Newman 101 Class. The best arguments for gynocentrism in the contemporary workplace, media, academia, family laws, oncology, psychiatry, psychotherapy and dating markets include… well, hundreds of papers in accordance with life experiences of millions of ideologically balanced, smart and agreeable people?
You wrote: “If my wife leaves tomorrow with half my net worth, I would still be happy to have spent the last several years with her.”
Please, please include it in the headline note of your dating advice posts, so everybody will know that it’s suitable for men who are fine with losing their life savings after few years in a poly marriage.
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The tweet was just to note how some opinions show up only in one forum and not another, which may be due to the post comments being truly anonymous. It wasn’t to “dismiss all the detailed argumentation”.
And with that said, I am going to dismiss all the detailed argumentation.
Everything that humans do is done by men and women. In every area of life, on every random variable trait, for every triumph or tragedy, you can find some evidence of either men or women being better off. Endless lists of evidence, anecdotes, studies, statistics, lived experiences. All of your detailed arguments about gynocentrism are in fact perfectly mirrored by the endless lists of arguments for male privilege, of which you only see a selection of the very worst and easily-debunkable strawmen. The three “best arguments” you listed are actually the worst. You hear about them because they’re toxoplasma — just good enough for a lot of people to both defend and attack vehemently.
You could easily see this by talking to your female peers about power and privilege, rather than getting your news from Reddit. But if you think that there you have no female peers and only “Wicca cat ladies”, or just believe that all women are lying all the time, then it’s too late for you: you locked yourself in an argumentative cage that no amount of disconfirming evidence can break you out of.
This is a separate question from whether you value and enjoy relationships like I do. If you opt out of dating because you don’t value the rewards, it’s one thing. But “proving” yourself out of a basic human need with “evidence” cherry-picked for you by internet attention-hoarding algorithms is insane.
Here’s an asymmetry: I’m engaging with you, and I’m not going to engage with “Beauvoir” below who tells me I’m a sexist, even though on the face of it you’re both representing the exact types I described in the very first paragraph of this post. That’s because I know that some part of you actually cares about truth and argument. But you have to step outside your “detailed arguments”, raise your head above the water. Instead of searching for more studies on female fickleness, ask yourself:
* How are these arguments finding their way into my brain? Who selects what I see before I see it? What don’t I get to even evaluate?
* How do all these arguments fit with your observed life? The experience of your female relatives, acquaintances, and grocery store cashier? How does it fit with the dating and married people you know?
I’m not a post-modernist arguing that life experience trumps published papers. But your life is unfiltered, it’s there to be observed in fullness, and it can help you notice when the stuff you just read about second-hand is skewed and screwing you.
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I appreciate the continued dialogue.
What is the basis for your claim that these examples of gynocentrism are “perfectly mirrored” by the feminist grievances about male privilege? How does it dismiss all the scientific literature and social changes we observe? I still claim that this false equivalence is due to the automatic, inconsiderate gender centrism – deliberately choosing a mid-way position (even in the increasingly rigged landscape, think 2000 vs 2020) because:
a) things like the sums of gender-related suffering “have to” even out in the large scale,
b) it is socially desirable not to criticize massive trends among women during “acceptable conversations” (relevant to traditionalists as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_are_wonderful_effect),
c) it feels better not to think poorly of contemporary femininity and one’s own standing determined by trends (especially if one made important decisions based on the faulty perspective).
In most of the cases, we fall for such biases due to multiple (a-c) reasons.
I get that the grim truth may feel like an unbearable burden beyond the Overton window, and that obfuscating research conclusions with various positive interactions one can have with women provides a temporary relief – I actually encourage this for the mental health reasons, although high risk aversion is advised. But rationalists are supposed to care about the truth itself, and the pure Bayesian updating leads to these painful realizations.
I know where your objection may come from – there is a sufficient number of different studies to cherry-pick from and use to construct a biased ideology broadcasted in echo chambers. I really get it, as the majority of manosphere is nothing but a pathetic circus. But upon further reflection, you can carefully weight available evidence and connect the dots – starting with the grater male variance and female choosiness, all the historical data, to how it’s now virtuous to dehumanize men and grant women endless advantages in the acceptable mainstream discourse. When you do this, the mirror claims (leaking from gender studies departments rather than STEM labs where methodology matters) look really bleak.
It would be too time-consuming to analyze every life area in this comment section, but since we focus on dating performance, it has a profound impact on happiness:
Unfortunately, even if many (if not most) men were rather poor than unloved and isolated for the rest of their lives, because love might be often a universal human need, the mere comparison of dating market inequalities to economic inequalities makes the public’s creepiness detector explode. All of this despite the fact that being smart, peaceful, not drinking much, displaying a friendly personality and having no criminal history make one belong to the population most at risk of being miserable and alone :
The mirror feminist claim (now more or less the mainstream position) that “it’s because women can sense the internalized misogyny of these entitled, toxic, violent far-right incels” doesn’t make much sense now, right?
And since you may expect that my view is distorted by traumas and falling into the filter bubble (which is indeed something worth checking in many cases): I do have female peers, I received looks-based compliments, I’ve been in relationships in the past, I select arguments based on their quality (reputable journals, large sample sizes) rather than the dominant subreddit narrative. The conclusions fit really well with direct observations in different circles. Female family members who care about my fate agree with nearly everything, and they’re not Hillbilly conservatives. I never claimed anything outrageous like “all women are spoiled liars incapable of loving men in any way”, I don’t practice collective discrimination, so I have normal everyday interactions will them. All in all, deep connections are just a fraction of male-female interactions.
Most importantly, I’ve spent more time than necessary to seek counterarguments and flaws in my reasoning. They would make my day. I talked to people on platforms designed to changing people’s minds. I sent messages to reputable researchers. There’s no caveat – on average, men and women have very different styles of love, and we all downplayed the power of hypergamy ignited by Tinder and feminism.
I really wished the truth was completely different. I always had a strong, inextinguishable need for the deeply reciprocal love and closeness, so facing the truth felt like dying inside; you know that risks outweigh the long-term benefits, and that your childhood expectations (meeting a genuinely understanding sweetheart loving you in a non-opportunistic way, followed by marriage and having a child) must be abandoned. There are now countless competent, decently looking men at the verge of suicide because of the awareness of intersexual dynamics, but I strongly advise them against it – killing oneself would be a win for the bad actors, the world doesn’t care much about the death of low-status men, there are other sources of beauty in life that may alleviate the existential pain, and there might be a technological solution coming soon.
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I think you’re really overestimating how “mainstream” the positions you’re mentioning are, which is partly what this post is about. The majority of Americans have never heard the terms “internalized misogyny” or “toxic incels” and have no idea what they mean. And as for your assertion that “it is socially desirable not to criticize massive trends among women” — this is literally what 80% of this post is about!
I feel we’re ultimately living in Different Worlds. I believe that women are on average pretty nice and mostly have compatible human values rather than adversarial feminine goals. And so I end up meeting a lot of nice women with compatible values. You seem to live in the exact opposite world.
Now, it’s unlikely that either of us would convince the other by citing either studies or dating anecdotes. But I just want to remark that the studies you site are part of what builds your world. I predict in a very real sense that if you stopped reading manosphere aligned articles you will have a better chance of interacting with nice women. This isn’t a “sacrifice of truth” in favor of some instrumental outcome that requires self-delusion. Quite the opposite: it’s because I think that given your current beliefs these articles push you further from the truth even if you can’t point to any specific errors in each one.
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The awareness of these terms is widespread, especially among the young and educated women. They are also more likely to be socially active and enforce the progressive narrative in the workplace, academia, communities or politics. Note that despite the panic about the rise of “hateful online neomasculinity”, male concerns are significantly less popular than the feminist lingo (“incel” is used as a shaming slur rather than a technical, neutral term for involuntary celibacy or virginity):
I guess that most men avoid such topics on dates, focusing on finding good matches and spending time doing things they both enjoy. I have never made the mistake of politicized dates. In the meantime, if you’re very handsome/rich and irrationally confident, you can get away with sharing very twisted views. If you’re a monster, you can be even as old and ugly as Josef Fritzl and still receive hundreds of love letters (there is no mirror male version of this phenomenon either).
Anyway, what one says on dates doesn’t change the way intersexual dynamics work, and if the situation is bad enough, individual variance no longer compensates for large trends. This also shows the problem of entering markets with favorable gender ratios: there are reasons why men leave or avoid them in the first place. In case of wokeness, it’s the high likelihood of problems, from minor conflicts being constantly framed as a systemic oppression to being ruined by false accusations. If you’re not in the top tier of attractiveness, your potential of “healing the feminist heart” is slim, and you would date high-drama women. If it looks too good to be true, it is most likely too good to be true. This would be my main objection to the central thesis of your article.
In our current circumstances, female selectivity is always few steps ahead of men strategizing and saying no to mistreatment. You can’t “get rich slowly” on the market that has an additional feature of crashing 20-50% of your stocks in the long run.
“Different worlds” may play a part in our disagreement, but my guess is that we actually live in Very Similar Worlds. I enjoy and agree with your other posts. We live in similar cities and have similar professions. The women I met/meet in contexts other than dating were/are also mostly nice (even some feminists!), although if I zoom out, I can see the gradual decline of baseline niceness in the last decade.
When it comes to dating, which is a relatively distinct domain from other forms of the ordinary male-female contact, women don’t have common end-goals with men: hypergamy trades up for the best available option instead of collaborating in making the best from the dedicated equal match. Thanks to Tinder, social media, feminism, biased laws and the remnants of male chivalry, it’s never been easier for women to act upon this hypergamous drive rather than increase the total sum of happiness on the dating market (which was incentivized more, though imperfectly in the past). If you correctly assume that local gender ratios play a somewhat important role, then you should admit that the said combination bricked the game.
Different expectations may obviously play a role: men like me usually aim at a lasting, supportive monogamous relationship with similar engagement and risk levels. You might be content with alternative arrangements. Most importantly, our personal experiences don’t matter much in describing the overall state of things – in theory, I might be The Entitled Douche with bad luck (e.g. 1/10,000 chance for meeting four horrible women in a row), and you could be The Lucky Polynerd (having less common priorities in line with the female sexual strategy, plus meeting more wholesome women).
This is why, contrary to your last point, citing lots of well-done studies is absolutely the best way to convince people like me. It’s the main way I form my beliefs anyway, and I actively counteract falling for the confirmation bias/filter bubble. If your perspective were true, then it would make me an immensely happier person – so rather than fall for the manosphere newsfeed, I have to actively resist a temptation of thinking how variables beyond main trends may add up to success stories. Lastly, I care more about perceiving the nature of sexes and the dating market accurately than about the individual success.
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I have heard these terms from multiple different people in my life, and some of them don’t know each other.
I think knowlege of the things is way more mainstream than you think
This absurd “sexual marketplace” metaphor is right out of /r/theredpill. It’s not scientific. It’s disgusting men’s rights bullshit that has no place in civilized discussion. If this blog post was on reddit it would be deleted and the username shadowbanned.
Joe Rogan is a disgusting racist, homophobe, and transphobe. These views have real impact, they make trans and nonbinary kids feel awful and afraid of coming out, they lead to legislation which hurts these populations, they lead to social ostracism.
Ignorant right wing bigots like Jordan Peterson even go so far as to say combating bigotry a communist/jewish plot to destroy western civilization(which is a common right wing white supremacist conspiracy theory completely unrelated to anything remotely related to marxism despite being referred to as “cultural marxism”).
Assuming this is not a bait:
The concept of a “dating market” has been there since decades in mainstream press (like The Economist or even some left-wing outlets), and has a huge exploratory power. It seems obvious that an isolated tribe with 90% of women and 10% of men – or an experimental group with major age and income differences – would behave differently than the representative social sample. Dating market analysis is just a broader analysis of the whole real-life context.
I’m not disgusted by men’s rights, as it is their absence that fuels radicalization. Dehumanizing 50% of population and replacing an evidence-based dialogue with preventative censorship won’t benefit women and non-binary folks in the long run.
I’m not sure about the exact views of Joe Rogan on gender issues, but I found many of his podcasts interesting, and he most likely didn’t say anything outrageous enough to justify cancelling his entire work. It is usually far-left ideologues and abusers like Jessica Yaniv that give LGBT activists a bad reputation, hurting the most vulnerable members of the community.
Jordan Peterson is a classical liberal opposing both right-wing and left-wing totalitarian regimes, and has many progressive views (universal healthcare, sensible immigration, separation of state and church, gay marriage and adoption). Contrary to your accusations, he is constantly attacked by actual white supremacists and anti-Semites as a “controlled opposition” or a “Jewish ally” for condemning any race-related discriminatory policies or debunking conspiracy theories about Jews. Peterson doesn’t use “cultural Marxism” as a far-right talking point, and agrees with some observations made by Marx. He frequently uses “postmodern neo-Marxism” as a useful description of the dominant far-left sentiment: that categories are subjective, equally justified and socially constructed, and that human relationships can be best described as power struggles between the groups of oppressors and oppressed, formed arbitrarily based on race, gender, and sexuality. This type of mindset is naturally simplistic, self-contradictory, and frequently used by bullies for their own advantage.
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Thank you for taking their bait :)
I have a sense that you won’t change Beauvoir’s attitude, but I appreciate you injecting some moderation and sanity to my unmoderated comment section.
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You’ve done a great job calling him evil, but have you done anything to prove him wrong?
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pretending to be retarded is still being retarded ;)
One thing to consider is that population-level sex ratios do not tell the full story. Chicago, for example, is heavily socially segregated: the black and Hispanic working-class south side of the city has an excess of women (in large part due to high incarceration and violence rates for young men). I’ve read that when you look at Cook County as a whole, the resulting ratio is female-skewed, but that the dating market for upper-middle-class 20- and 30-somethings is actually male-dominated. To what extent do similar effects operate in New York, SF, LA, Boston, etc.?
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This is a good point. From what I remember, New York has slightly more women than men when you narrow it down to college-educated singles only which is probably the relevant dating sphere for most people reading this blog. I think the main driver of this is that young women are likelier than men to go far from home for college and careers, and so they tend to aggregate in big cities while men stay in their home towns. I don’t know if Atlanta’s extreme skew is driven by the large minority working-class population or the fact that it collects more college-educated women from the entire Southeast than men.
Of course, this is affected by the industries present in each city. New York has a mix of finance (mostly male) with media (mostly female) and a lot else besides. Boston/Cambridge are probably more female because of education and life sciences, which are both female. Seattle and the Bay are male for obvious tech reasons.
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Something else that I think is very much key, but which you leave as an exercise for the reader to infer, is the extent to which a skewed dating market skews even more once couples are removed from the picture.
Suppose we have 90,000 of straight, upper-middle-class men in Metro X, but 110,000 women–a 45/55 split.
If 20,000 of each of them pair up, you now have 70K men and 90K women–about a 44/56 split. Not that changed, but…
If 40,000 of each of them pair up, it’s 50,000 men and 70,000 women. Now the split is 41/59.
If 60,000 of each pair up, it’s 30K men and 50K women– 38/62.
If there are 80,000 couples, you get thirty thousand women chasing after ten thousand men–a 25/75 ratio.
People do break up and come off the market once in a while, of course, but to a first approximation most relationships will last at least a year or so. Once you look at the sex ratio of singles, small imbalances accelerate very, very quickly, and it’s the sex ratio of singles in particular that determines who has a miserable time and who has a somewhat less miserable time.
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It’s nice to see a neutral, well seached article.
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Don’t know the rest of you, but I can see a thing quite clearly: Jacob’s answers are WAY more positive that the critics, and Jacob’s love life seems to be WAY more interesting too. Correlation shown. Causation maybe inverse, but irrelevant.
Of course, what do I know? I’m just a beta-turned-alpha white, quite-rich, more-or-less-educated man. With a hot wife. Plus two ex-wives and two children. Privileged as heck. Attractive, too. Meaning? YMMV, people. But as Jacob said, “you don’t waste your selective power fighting a bad ratio or filtering out women who don’t match your political ideology. And if you actually try to find these women, instead of trawling studies proving that these women don’t exist.”
This comment section is so 2017–I can’t believe people are still having online discussions like this, as though their perspective is the only possible valid one
I’m female, and attended a STEM-skewed university with a M/F ration of something over 3-to-1. Jordan Peterson would be among my ideal dinner guests, too. Loved your article.
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I am curious. Even if you don’t filter for politics, isn’t it the case that some subset of political views will render you pretty much inadmissible for dating? Few women would be open to dating a professed neo-Nazi, for instance.
If so, what should I do? Pretending not to have them seems somewhat dishonest, as well as producing a house of cards. Being honest filters me from the dating market. It seems my only option is to change my political views, just like Winston Smith does in the end.
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That’s the tough one, isn’t it? I have philosophical views about femininity that a lot of guys weren’t comfortable with. It made sense to me not to hide them, though there’s no need to be offensive. I imagine I did filter out a lot of potential mates, but it had the advantage of pairing me with someone who could deal with my views, and from whom I didn’t have to hide myself. They’d better be pretty central, though, to be worth that risk. Between me and my husband of now 36 years, there’s plenty of room for disagreement about religion and fiscal policy, especially since we’ve both evolved on those subjects over the years.
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Yeah, but this presupposes you have enough candidates to start with. Pulling some numbers out of thin air, if you show your profile to 1000 people through online dating, you want to filter out the worst 99%, leaving you with 10 matches to filter manually. This is why the ‘being weird’ strategy works.
(It’s kind of like how spammers say they’re from Nigeria – by doing that, they select for only the most gullible people – sending spam isn’t expensive, but keeping a conversation alive is)
This argument is very well in theory, but if being honest filters out say 99.95%, you’re left with only 0.5 matches. At some point you’re forced to filter inaccurately and hope to make up the difference later.
The issue is that women who share my political views are ~0%, and women who tolerate them are also ~0%. The crucial difference, I imagine, is that extremism is low-status while odd philosophical views are neither.
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If 0% of women would tolerate your political views, you do indeed face a choice between celibacy and preserving your political principles. I’m an odd duck, so men who could deal with my idiosyncrasies may have been somewhat rare, but fortunately they weren’t 0%.
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Not zero, but close to zero. It’s possible the author, being Jewish, would just respond with something along the lines of “yeah but maybe that means they’re right and you shouldn’t have these views”. That is the usual response. It’s still icky though.
I don’t think that’s true. I could just not discuss political views initially and attempt to screen for the kind of women who just adopt the views of their environment, whatever they may be. It’s certainly not ideal however, as you’re essentially selecting for spineless people.
Which might be a desirable trait in a woman, YMMV. But I can’t help thinking there’s something smarmy about it.
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Wait, are you actually neo-Nazi or was that just an example? I’m kinda curious what the sex ratio among neo-Nazis in the US is, although I suspect it may be more male-skewed than even the manosphere.
Anyway, if I had political views that ~0% of people share I would:
1. Look for friends and mates in the forums dedicated to my obscure stance. Basically, filter on politics first and everything else second.
2. But really, I would take a hard, long, outside look at myself and think how likely I am to be correct about hypercomplex questions of policy and culture when the entire world disagrees with me, vs. the likelihood that I fell into a hole of confirmation bias and contrarian self-image. Like: Nazism isn’t merely unpopular, it’s also really dumb and harmful to its adherents.
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(I imagine the racism part alone is unacceptable except perhaps to certain old people living in the countryside, for example)
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I just want to pause and appreciate the beauty of a socially conservative racist talking about dating with a libertine Jewish immigrant.
And this makes me think that your odious view are not particularly central to your identity, and you can further de-center them to the point where they shouldn’t have too much influence on your life. So if for example you think that Jews should not live in your country because they degrade local culture and corrupt the youth, but you’re only going to talk about it on 4chan rather than shooting up a synagogue, then:
1. In terms of tolerating Jews you’re ahead of where the majority of Europeans have been throughout the last 2,000 years, and where a lot of people in Europe are today.
2. You can probably just stop talking about Jews outside of 4chan, which will help your dating life and soothe your soul at the same time.
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Doesn’t this go against the advice in the article about your weird living arrangement? It’s a deal-breaker for most women, yet I should hold off on mentioning it?
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When people get caught up in sophistry and arguments Tyler Cowen likes to ask: “how does this affect the molecules impinging on your body?”
Sharing a small apartment with my ex-girlfriend and her fiance was part of my physical reality, it affected which rooms in the house I (or my guests) could go into. But unless you’re a politician or activists, your opinions about politics can impact your actual, physical life as much or as little as you let them.
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That is a fair point. But sooner or later, I will have to divulge them. And if I’m already a few weeks/months in, that’s a lot of wasted time.
Unless you’re saying I should keep quiet about it perpetually?
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The author’s “being Jewish” leads you believe he’d make that argument?
I would imagine most Jews have a strong innate antipathy to Nazism, sure. You can replace “being Jewish” with “having a strong antipathy towards Nazism”, if you’d like.
And if you accept axiomatically that some view has been ‘conclusively disproven’ I can imagine how it would feel more intuitive to suggest that doing anything while holding this view is not a supported use case.
Nazism doesn’t usually make for a very good example, Godwin’s law and all. You could replace it with believing that Blacks are less intelligent and more violent than Whites without loss of generality.
(Without wishing to start a separate political discussion: this explanation fits Africa and the USA’s problems well, many smart people in the rationalist community believe it, and yet it’s completely unspeakable in polite conversation.
For what it’s worth, I believe even the author has already made the argument in an article that some ethnic groups with smaller genetic differences from White people than the Blacks are genetically favored within the field of IQ, so it shouldn’t be entirely implausible.)
Anyway, if you hold such views, you’re clearly a racist, and that has a ~0% CTR. As I see it, this leaves you with three options:
1. Accept staying alone
2. Select for political views to the exclusion of all else (racist hicks or move abroad)
3. Select for women with malleable political views and don’t tell them until you’ve gotten sufficiently far in the relationship
None of these are great solutions, I think.
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I just want to note that Jewish antipathy to Nazism isn’t “innate”. It is, in fact, acquired by Jews from Nazis through exposure. It is Nazis who believe that all kinds of traits are “innate” to Jews.
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A successful mating strategy has to take into account the potential problem that one participant professes beliefs that are fundamentally abhorrent to virtually 100% of the available mating pool. In that case, he’s put to a hard choice between mating and his political views. As you note, he can lie, but that creates its own problems–practical ones like the danger of getting caught, along with the “icky” issue of self-loathing and profound falseness, both contraindicators to long-term romantic success. He could rely on force, but that too carries all kinds of risks. The problem is roughly similar to that faced by a child molester, and as I understand it is not really the kind of problem the original post purported to solve, which was more along the lines of exhorting people to get over themselves a bit.
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So what’s your point then? It’s fucked, unless I make sure to adopt some more PC views? That just sounds horribly depressing.
(And don’t even think of lying: “women aren’t stupid. Both genders have a strong nose for politics and ideology when looking for partners.”)
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Simultaneously insisting on two mutually exclusive goals is a sure road to depression. PC views are neither here nor there. Got no use for them, myself.
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What are these mutually exclusive goals exactly? Finding someone from whom you don’t have to hide yourself and …?
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(1) Hewing faithfully to views that 100% of women find abhorrent, and (2) wanting to attract women without lying to them. You’ve over-constrained your problem.
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Anon and texan999, please take your tedious conversation elsewhere. texan’s blog is linked in his username, so y’all can find each other. One of you wants to feel sorry for himself for posting boring anti-Semitic copypasta and complaining about censorship, and one of you is humoring him for some unknown reason. I’ll tolerate a couple of comments in this vein, but not a dozen.
I have deleted and will delete all future comments from you that aren’t offering brilliant insight on the actual topic of this post. Sorry if this is upsetting.
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I felt obliged to relate to the recent comments, because apparently the discussion about dating started to lean in a strange direction. It might be the case that somebody wants to discredit the “redpill” replies by associating them with anti-Semitic views – which is ridiculous, as left-leaning Jews contributed greatly to our understanding of zero-sum intersexual strategies.
a) I can’t comprehend how any civil person with a basic understanding of history can identify as a neo-Nazi.
b) Believing in average, heritable differences in physical and cognitive characteristics between various groups, or opposing the progressive agenda does not make anyone a Nazi. This sick, intellectually bankrupt ideology involves dehumanization, active discrimination, hate and violence against certain groups. In case anybody is still confused, liberalism, centrism, conservatism and most types of neoreaction are not neo-Nazi/anti-Semitic.
c) As much as I admire the importance of free speech, I believe it should not be granted to edge cases, such as totalitarian, violent ideologies, including the neo-Nazi outreach. The First Amendment is extremely important, but should not apply to fanatics parading with Nazi swastikas – agency should not be given to people who undermine the basic civility.
d) While it is true that many secularized Jews support the progressive agenda with its good and bad sides, nobody should be ever targeted because of their ethnic identity. The principles of universal human dignity and individualism (treating people as complex intersections of countless identities) are sacred. In addition, there are many different in-groups within the global Jewish diaspora, with very different viewpoints, often offering a great positive contribution to the world.
And now, since we clarified this: nasty fascists, racial supremacists and neo-Nazis in the top tier of attractiveness (looks and raw dominance) are very successful on the dating scene. :(
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It does make you a racist, which is not good optics. You will also end up being called a Nazi. Whether you support the other less interesting policies of Hitler or not is immaterial. The subset of the population who will say “I am fine with racists but not anti-Semites” is pretty much zero, and I would imagine mostly Jewish.
I agree with the last part of your post – it’s in all likelihood a better idea to put forth some extremist but immediately recognizable position than an obscure but still extremist position. Starting the conversation off with “no it’s not racism it’s human biodiversity” puts you on the defensive with little to show for it. That said, neither are sufficiently good approaches so as to be worth the while.
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The redpill groups are often antisemitic, to an often cartoonish degree where they think every single person of Jewish ancestry is part of a plot to destroy America through mass immigration (somehow Stephen Miller or Breitbart never come up) though that’s a bit more of a recent development.
That doesn’t actually prove them wrong about sexual strategy, etc., though I agree with the blog host that they seem a lot like a mirror image of feminism with the pronouns switched. Still, with wackjobs shooting up synagogues and the example of the Holocaust only two generations in the past, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Falkovich were on the paranoid side. Who wants to die?
I’ll admit–I’m an increasingly right-leaning half-Jewish guy who doesn’t know whether to be more afraid of leftists with a higher probability of discriminating against me for being a white male if they win, or rightists with a small probability of actually killing me if they win. I’ve gone to the trouble of actually avoiding joining any Jewish organizations, but they’ve got 23andme now. :(
I accept HBD and the rest, though it seems pretty obvious to me the Holocaust happened (plenty of documentary evidence, almost more than any event in history), global warming is real (look at all the new hurricanes!), and groups are different (138 Nobel prizes can’t be entirely cultural…and we’ll stick to the positive differences).
As an aside, if the blog is correct and Mr. Falkovich was a Jewish guy dating in New York, this is no doubt contributing to his overall sanguine attitude. The gender ratio is good, and lots of Jewish ladies specifically were looking for someone with his ethnic background; in addition, his obvious intellect in both verbal and mathematical areas is attractive to that subgroup. (You would have been great at Talmud or doing the numbers in your uncle’s garment shop 100 years ago!) Even if he didn’t wind up with one, it was going to make him a lot less desperate since he had options.
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I assume that the manosphere overlaps with the alt-right circles only to a limited degree, as non-white men (especially Indian/East Asian) are the most disadvantaged ones on the US dating market. It would be particularly unreasonable to hold antisemitic views, because Jewish scientists and authors contribute a lot to the “redpill” stuff. For every Jew involved in the pornographic industry or woke politics, there is another Jew defending science, moderation and men’s issues.
Antisemitism is certainly a problem, and whether you should worry about it probably depends on your individual situation. Here’s an opinion of a pretty liberal Jewish doctor from the Bay Area (https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/04/22/right-is-the-new-left/): “(…) I don’t feel remotely threatened from the right – even when I meet anti-Semites who think all Jews should die, my feelings are mostly benevolent bemusement. I know if it ever came to any conflict between me and them, then short of them killing me instantly I would have everyone in the world on my side, and the possibility of it ending in any way other than with them in jail and me a hero who gets praised for his bravery in confronting them is practically zero. On the other hand, I feel massively threatened from the left, since the few times I got in a fight with them ended with me getting death threats and harrassment and feeling like everyone was on their side and I was totally alone. (…)”
This is a really fascinating post with a quite surprising mix of empathy for people of different political views and mathematical intuition. People who can do the one usually don’t have the other.
As for horseshoe theory, though, have you discovered the political compass? Technically speaking any political spectrum is a projection of R^n onto the real line (with n being the number of total relevant political issues at any point in time), but at least looking at libertarian-authoritarian gives you another axis to analyze the data on (ie you are projecting onto R^2 now), and reflects one of the major problems today–nobody is going after the socially conservative, economically liberal quadrant, though Trump pretended to and Bernie Sanders kinda approached the line bordering it a few times. (The memes all describe it as communist, but Christian democracy or Catholic social thought is really much more accurate for normal people today.)
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Of course, because you’re doing a different mapping to the second dimension, your horseshoe theory becomes a paraboloid theory. ;)
Nobody is really going after the libertarian quadrant either. So what we have is a political line that you can draw in 2-D if you like.
The reason nobody is going after socially conservative fiscally liberal politics is that it was tried in the 1940s (with great success) but thereafter deemed unacceptable. Scandinavia and Portugal did hold out for a little longer, and with great success.
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Tried in the 1940s? If you mean the Nazis, I would imagine not starting the largest war in human history would improve people’s opinion of any future attempts.
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One thing that you mentioned but I think could be expounded upon is taking the sex ratio and adding/supplementing with the attractiveness scale. Men are far more willing to trade politics for looks than women are at least for long term relationships. If you are a red pilled cons dude in the bottom third of the attractiveness ranking and Emily Ratajkowski takes interest in you, how fast before you swallow a Bernie pill?
This all reminds me of the Dave Chappelle skit on all this:
A woman’s test in life is material.
A man’s test in life is a woman.
Men have nice cars, not because they like nice cars but because they know women like nice cars.
thank you for this blog, always great insights.
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“What is it like being a guy in a 45/55 mating market? In short, not much. If you’re the median guy on some generalized attribute of attractiveness (23rd out of 45) you might match with the 23rd-most attractive woman out of 55, the 58th percentile woman instead of the 50th percentile if the ratio was balanced. It’s not a big difference.”
This is only true if you assume there are no ways to transfer value from women to men. If there are (and there always are), then men could end up much better off even if the gender disparity is relatively small. For example, dating norms might shift so that women have to put more effort in.
Here’s a (very unrealistic) model of a small difference having a big effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_(game_theory)#Example_3:_Shoes
“It is a fact of dating life that women prefer men around the same age as them…”
I strongly doubt that. I see that this is based on an article published by OkCupid, but of course OkCupid is not representative of the general population. While women might prefer mates around their age in the median, I believe they prefer older mates on average.
I must admit, my belief is based mostly on anecdotal evidence and so I’m open to have my mind changed. However, as a digital nomad I’m quite confident that there are locations (in the Western world, nothing exotic) where large numbers of young women prefer older men and this is considered completely normal, if not obvious, in the local culture.
Conversely, there are also places in the world where men dating younger women are shamed and those dating older women are praised. The average age gap in those places is much smaller.
So while I think that your advice to improve one’s dating life by relocating is excellent (in fact, one of the reasons I became a digital nomad was to escape a particularly unpleasant dating market), more factors should be taken into account than just the sex ratio.
utc time now
Very interesting read, and it got me thinking about other subjects on the side, also making a link to the “winning is for losers” post.
I can see a link with the resistance to immigration of low-skilled workers, even though some of the people with that opinion are educated and would not be competing for those jobs themselves.
Unemployment figures impact the dynamics of the job marketplace in how negotiations for salaries/benefits go. However, unemployment figures can be very uneven across different industries.
I can also see a link between the different industries and the aforementioned tribes for matchmaking. Especially during times of crisis, there is a movement of people jumping ship from some professions.
Your comedian-list date mishap reminds me of a date of mine.
Me: I recently read that the median male’s upper body strength is 99%ile among women. I didn’t really put together until then just how genuinely scary men are to women.
Her: WTF, how could you say such a thing! That’s gender essentialism!
Then we agreed to sit down and watch Captain America anyways, since we’d paid for our tickets already. And then she stood up and marched straight out of the theater and refused any further dates.
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The truth is all over the US is more male from West to East, including Memphis and other places in the South, especially Atlanta as Miami which means men need to put more effort in. Roles cannot switch. They’ve always been that way. Men are competitors and pursuers while women are crushes and objects of desire. That will never change at all.