Several weeks back SSM, while she was still around, allowed me to submit a guest post on some ideas of mine about what women found attractive in men. The result was a post about my “LAMPS” system, which was an attempt to explain and categorize female attraction vectors (Vector defined: a quantity that has magnitude and direction and that is commonly represented by a directed line segment whose length represents the magnitude and whose orientation in space represents the direction). I found that term accurate, because the five categories each vary in importance and order (space) depending on the woman. The first part of this post will be a copy of what I sent Mary, exactly as it was. After the original, I will add in some further thoughts and clarifications . The comments after the original post were excellent, and I will try and capture the essence of those I can remember. Unfortunately, Google-Cache did not save them. Now on to the original post:
The Five Vectors of Female Attraction to Men
It has long been understood in the Manosphere that male and female attractiveness vectors are very, very different.
What men are looking for in women is easy enough to determine: youth and beauty. Beauty can vary depending on culture, but there are still certain physical features in women that carry across most cultures: a feminine face with strong facial symmetry, large breasts, a low waist-to-hip ratio, smooth and unblemished skin, etc. These vectors are almost all purely visual, and therefore it is usually quite easy for a man to quickly gauge a woman’s attractiveness on the standard 1-10 scale.
The same cannot be said for what women find attractive in men. While nearly everyone agrees that what women are looking for is different, there haven’t been very many good formulations of exactly what vectors attract women. The usual descriptor is “Alpha”, but this is a very imprecise term. This lack of clarity bothered me, so I thought on it for a while and eventually designed my own system. I narrowed the various traits and attributes down to 5 vectors, which I believe to be a fairly comprehensive understanding of what women look for in men when it comes to attraction. Before I explain the 5 vectors, I need to lay a foundation by explaining the impulses which drive female behavior.
Hypergamy is the name for the female socio-sexual strategy, which involves a woman establishing a monogamous relationship with the highest status/value male available to her (there is some question as to whether the man himself must have a higher status than the woman). It is important to note that this is a “soft” or serial monogamous relationship, as compared to “hard” or lifetime monogamy. The female does not want to be bound to the male “until death do you part.” She instead wants to be with him so long as he is the best available male; if a better male comes along she will seek to abandon her present mate and “trade up” to the newer, better man. Credit goes to Dalrock for keying me into this behavior.
Hypergamy is the strategy, but what are the goals? There are three impulses which drive women to do what they do:
1- Have sex with the best available male. The purpose of this is so that her children have the best genetics possible, and thus the best chance of surviving and thriving.
2- Protection. Women and their children need protection from hostile males, and from natural threats. Women want a man who will keep her safe, and even more important, make her feel safe.
3- Provision. A woman wants a man who will be able to provide for her and her children. The more resources available to her and her children, the healthier they will be and the better the chance of survival.
Now that we have that out of the way, the five Vectors of Female Attraction to Men are as follows:
(LAMPS for short)
Looks: This includes physical attractiveness, such as facial symmetry and strong masculine features in a man’s face. It can also include healthy skin, healthy and good looking hair, and other external features. Youthfulness is featured here as well, but it is valued far less by women than men, probably because age doesn’t impact male fertility as much as it affects female fertility. In my opinion this tends to be the least important vector for women.
Relevance: Physical looks can be a strong indicator of genetic health. A good looking man is more likely to produce healthy children. From either an evolutionary or biblical standpoint, it would make sense for a woman to want to choose a father who will create healthier children. God would want to help make this easier for women, so he gave her this way of gauging genetic health.
Athleticism: Here we have the overall physical attributes of a man. His strength, muscle tone, endurance, dexterity and general athletic ability. I tend to view this as being in the middle of the pack in terms of importance to most women.
Relevance: This vector showcases all three impulses for women. From an evolutionary perspective an athletic man is more likely to produce healthy children. Also, he will be more capable of both providing for the woman and her children, as well as protecting them from harm. From a biblical perspective, an athletic man is one best suited to enduring the Curse of Adam from Genesis. God declared that Man must work for his bread after being cast from the Garden, and so a more athletic man would be best able to handle this burden.
Money: This attribute includes both the amount of resources that a man can call upon in the present, as well as what he might be able to make or create in the future. This doesn’t necessarily mean just money; real property and other assets can be included as well. I view this as the second weakest attribute in terms of importance.
Relevance: This attribute is tied primarily to the provision impulse, and is probably the strongest indicator of a man’s ability to provide. It is the most “Beta” of the attributes here, but is also an Alpha attribute as well. From an evolutionary perspective, this is a fairly straightforward analysis. A man with resources is a man who can provide for a woman and her children during even harsh times. Also, in the past a man with a lot of resources available was someone who was probably quite good at providing, and thus probably athletic and high-status as well. So in this sense Money could serve as a proxy for other attributes. From a biblical perspective things become a little more difficult to explain. In more than one section of the Bible money is considered a source of sin and/or something to be avoided, although it is never rejected in full. Perhaps one way of looking at it is that a man with money is a man blessed by God, and someone who finds favor in His eyes.
Power: This is a short-hand for masculine power, or masculinity. Although in my view masculinity is power when it comes to attraction and relationships. As an attribute, Power includes a lot of Alpha traits which are commonly discussed on Game sites. Things such as confidence, assertiveness, self-mastery, a commanding presence and indomitability would fall here. It does not include the power one has from any position of authority; that falls under status. When a woman fitness tests a man, she is trying to assess his masculinity. Rubbing against his manhood, as it were (I always liked this analogy; I just wish I could remember who thought it up). If the man can’t stand up to a woman, then he clearly can’t stand up to other men, so his Power value will diminish in her eyes. Power is entirely personal to the man; it is based on his own unique characteristics and charisma. In my opinion this is the most important attribute when it comes to female attraction. If a man fails here, then ultimately attraction cannot be sustained.
Relevance: This attribute doesn’t fall clearly into either the provision or protection impulse, but has relevance to them. The thing to understand is that a man’s ability to protect a family and provide for them is not purely physical; it has a strong mental component to it. Power helps serve as a proxy for a man’s mental state, and from an evolutionary perspective would likely help guide a women in deciding if a man is capable of protecting and providing for her. Since dominant, masculine men tend to do better than lesser men, this makes sense. Also, there is a definite clear-cut connection between Power and the female impulse to secure access to the best available male genetic material. From a biblical perspective, it makes me wonder if there is a connection between masculinity and righteousness. It takes a certain measure of self-control to resist evil, and to overcome it when confronted. Perhaps a righteous man with a high Power value has an easier time resisting temptation when he comes across it. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence which suggests that women view a man’s self-mastery in certain areas to be a sign of weakness, the opposite of power.
Status: The social position of the man is what is meant by status and is principally based on where he is on the social ladder. It includes how well respected he is by those around him, whether they are above him or below him in station. Any authority that a man can exercise in the community based on his position would fall under here. Think Big Fish or Small Fish; the bigger the fish, the more attractive a man is. Fitness testing also falls under here to a degree as well, because a man who fails a test is probably low status and used to being bossed around. “Social Proof” or “Pre-Selection” doesn’t exactly fall under here. Rather, that idea serves as a short-cut or proxy for women to try and determine if the man has status or money or power. To sum Status up, it is based not on anything inherent to the man, but rather his general position in society. This is probably the second most important attribute.
Relevance: Status is similar to Power, in that it doesn’t directly connect to any of the attributes, but hints at all three. An evolutionary perspective would provide for the theory that women use a man’s status as a yard-stick to measure his overall competence. The more important and higher status a man is, the better the catch. A biblical perspective would perhaps support the notion that status might show favor from God.
I don’t think that there is a universal female measure of what makes a man attractive. Some women are more attracted to one attribute over the other. Each woman has her own set of preferences, so there is no single standard. I view it as a sliding scale myself. As long as you have enough in certain areas, it can make up for deficiencies in others. This system is one of my own design, but a number of bloggers greatly helped in the formation thanks to their ideas and discussions. Vox Day, Rollo Tomassi and Dalrock are chief amongst them. And thank you Sunshine Mary for giving me the chance to explain this idea more fully.
As many commentators pointed out, I forgot to include height somewhere. Many opined that it should be its own category, but the truth is that I had it under Looks and forgot to include it in the post. This caused several to argue that the inclusion of height pushed Looks to probably the second most important attribute. I think that there is some truth to this, in a fashion. As I thought more about it, I realized that both Looks and Athleticism are the two vectors which women can analyze easiest. This means that they often act as “screens”, to filter out men and allow a women a more narrow and focused search. For shorter men, this can be a huge disadvantage. However, this is I think an subconscious filter in women, and so one that a man can overcome later by regaining the woman’s attention. Remember, attraction means to gain attention or notice. So a short man might be skipped over initially, but he can compensate through the other vectors.
Some wondered about why certain things fell under Looks, and some fell under Athleticism. Both are categories of physical attributes, to be sure, but there is a major distinction between the two. Looks encompasses those things that someone has no control over (except by surgery). Athleticism, on the other hand, includes those physical attributes which a man can control, through dieting and exercise. So height falls under Looks, but weight falls under Athleticism. So if you are unsure about whether an a physical attribute falls under Looks or Athleticism, ask if it is something that a man has any real control over.
Both money and status are very similar, as they are external to the man. Part of me was very tempted to lump them together under just status, but the truth is that they aren’t necessarily linked. It is possible, though rare, for a man to have lots of Money but be low Status. Much more common for him to have little Money but high Status.
There is more than what I have here, unfortunately this is all I can remember right now. If I should recall anything I will likely update the post below this point.