Analyzing Attraction- Part 5

The latest in my long running series is here. The first post can be found here, and the fourth here. Today’s post is going to be less focused than the last.

“Guypergamy”

One of the infamous commenters who occasionally frequents these parts has accused men of acting in a manner entirely similar to women when it comes to mate maximization. Her argument is that men are just as picky and choosey  as women are, and that only the “hottest” women will get asked out/dated/married by men. She calls this “Guypergamy.”

Setting aside the ridiculous name, there is an element of truth to this. As most who frequent this blog are aware, lifetime monogamy is not natural to the human condition- neither men nor women are naturally monogamous. Women are inclined to serial monogamy, while men are inclined to polygamy.

The natural male response when a man comes across a woman he wants is to add her to his existing “harem.” If he runs across two at the same time, he takes both rather than choose between the two. Or as the old joke goes: If you ask a man whether he prefers a blonde, brunette or redhead, his answer will be “yes please.” You can see this especially with David and Solomon in the Old Testament. Although Jacob is another good example. When he got Leah rather than Rachel at first, he didn’t discard Leah when he later got Rachel. Essentially, the male instinct isn’t to replace an existing woman with a new one when a man run across her. When a woman is “discarded”, it is usually due to her age or a lack of resources on the man’s part (prioritizing them for himself and the women he prefers).

This dynamic changes dramatically when men are forced into hard monogamy- aka, lifetime marriage. When men are confronted with “one and done,” their behavior shifts. They start to become a lot pickier. Far more picky, in fact, then they are normally. However, I don’t think that men are ever quite as picky as women tend to be. But it can be close.

And that is just in a “hard monogamy” marriage market. Things become even more complicated when the market is as distorted as it is now. When lifetime marriage and the MMP is distorted, two different forces are at work. On the one hand, the lack of viable product (marriageable women) forces men to lower their  standards or go without. And on the other hand, the instability of marriage and easy dissolution of marriage makes men even more cautious and choosier. This leads to… interesting results.

The most likely result is that men simply leave the market. They give up and go home. But another result, the one more applicable to this neck of the woods, is a little more complicated. These are men who we might call R&D men- Resigned & Discriminatory. While they haven’t given up on marriage, they are resigned to the fact that they probably won’t marry. And they are highly discriminatory about who they will actually marry. They have strict standards and will generally stick to them. I strongly suspect that most Christian men in the future will fall into this category. Not that there will be necessarily be a large number of such men- I see a strong contraction in the numbers of the faithful ahead in the future.

As for how choosey these men will be, I predict fairly choosey. Knowing the odds, they will insist on getting a good deal in the marriage market, or they will simply walk. This means a number of things will be part of their “list”: lots of feminine traits, a high degree of devotion, chastity, minimal feminist/worldly beliefs, youth and good looks. The latter is what drew the ire of the aforementioned commenter. She (and others) disliked that men would only pay attention to the “hawt” girls.

I understand and sympathize a bit with her perspective. But only so much. It is unfair, certainly, as she and other “good” women aren’t responsible for this mess. But a mess is what has been left to us. And men are finally starting to adapt to it. From a male perspective, here is what is going on in our heads:

If we are going to take the risk of marrying in the present environment, then we are going to insist we get the best possible deal out of it. In other words, we want a reward on equal footing with the risk. And that means, in large part, youth and beauty (which often go together). Beauty I will explain in the next section, but youth is also important to such men.

One of the rewards that men in this category are apt to seek is a large family. Not all, of course. But many will have that desire. The younger a woman, the more she brings to the table when it comes to fertility. This will increase her perceived “reward” value. And that is the conscious factor. Men are unconsciously drawn to youth in women. It has an appeal that we never really lose, as evidenced by various “studies” which show that the ideal age range of women for men is around 20-21.

Now, for a while men have been accepting older and older women as their brides. The general increase in median age of marriage demonstrates this. However, I suspect that men are going to be increasingly wary of marrying older women. This was tolerated at times in the past, but I don’t think that toleration will hold in the current broken market.  Desperation will still affect many, to be sure. There will always be “thirsty” men. But as more R&D men emerge, or put another way, as they become a larger share of the marriage market, I expect that women will have a harder time marrying later.

Those are just a few of my thoughts on the subject. I invite my male readers who might fall into that category to offer their own.

The Holy Lampstand

One constant in my various discussions of attraction is that someone shows up and says that Christians shouldn’t be taking attractiveness into account when marriage is concerned. Most often it is directed only at men, and not women. One such person, going by the moniker Corvinus, showed up recently at this thread over at Dalrock’s to make that same, old, tired argument. He, assuming it was a he, basically stated was that all matters was for a woman to be a Christian. Her attractiveness doesn’t matter. Fortunately a number of commenters there, including Feminine But Not Feminist, quickly took him(?) to task over his(?) foolhardy arguments. The following hypothetical from FBNF pretty effectively shut him down (as evidenced by the fact he hasn’t responded to it):

If a Christian woman were to show interest in marrying you (if you’re a man; if you’re a woman then just say so), but you had absolutely zero attraction to her to the point that the idea of having sex with her is repulsive to you, had trouble keeping up a conversation because you just don’t “click”, and she is so crazy and unkind to you that you don’t even like being in her presence at all, but she still said she would be interested in marrying you… would YOU PERSONALLY be willing to marry this woman that you flat-out don’t want, just because she “is Christian”? If “yes” then please back it up with something from Scripture that clearly shows that men are obligated to marry such a woman simply because she is Christian (good luck finding that). If “no” then please explain why you wouldn’t do so but are telling every other man here that they should.

 The thing is, you could remove the part about “clicking” and personality/craziness and it would still work. Marrying a woman whom you are not attracted to is a recipe for disaster. Even more so if she repulses you. The only exception might be for those men who have no sex drive. But they probably should marry at all, as St. Paul makes clear in 1 Cor 7. And that passage also highlights the importance of being being inflamed with passion towards your spouse. Because if you aren’t towards her, than you will be towards someone else. And that leads to ruin, as the Book of Proverbs makes abundantly clear several times. Proverbs also makes it clear that the way to cool your passion is through your wife:

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
    streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
    and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19     a lovely hind, a graceful doe.
Let her affection fill you at all times with delight,
    be infatuated always with her love.

(Proverbs 5:15-19)

It is kind of hard to rejoice in her if you never felt that “spark” in the first place. But even with that in mind, the notion that men should not or cannot consider a woman’s beauty has no scriptural basis. Far from it- in fact Scripture speaks to quite the opposite:

17 Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand,
    so is a beautiful face on a stately figure.
18 Like pillars of gold on a base of silver,
    so are beautiful feet with a steadfast heart

(Sirach 26:17-18)

22 A woman’s beauty gladdens the countenance,
    and surpasses every human desire.

(Sirach 36:22)

And then of course there is the entire Song of Songs, which extols female beauty (along with the handsomeness of the man). When you point this out (admittedly, a little harder for Protestants who have tossed aside the Book of Sirach) those who argue against considering attractiveness always like to trot out Proverbs 31:30. When you point out that Proverbs 31 didn’t say to ignore or set aside beauty, but to remember it is fleeting, and that the rest of Proverbs warns about letting it bedazzle you, most usually huff and leave.

The thing is- life isn’t fair. Some win and some lose when it comes to good looks and attractiveness. That doesn’t sit well with a number of folks, but that is how the world is. As unfair as it is, men just like beauty. We do. There is something inherently pleasing and uplifting about it. Even when not in a direct sexual context, it “gladdens the countenance.” I don’t think women really understand just how powerful this can be. Telling men to set beauty aside will be no more successful in the long run than telling women they should be drawn to supplicating and weak men.

That is not to say that men cannot prioritize other features of a woman above her looks. We can, and many do. But it isn’t easy. And we never really set it aside- instead, we make a conscious decision to accept less of it in the hopes of gaining something else (hopefully) more valuable instead. At least, that is the case for those with options. For those without options, then it is less determination and discrimination at work, and more desperation.

The key point, as always, is that a man should never marry a beautiful woman just because she is beautiful. That is a plus, certainly. But since looks fade over time it is a passing pleasure. So ground your decision on traits that don’t fade like that. In the end, they are far more valuable to your enjoyment of your marriage, and life as a whole. Not to mention much safer for your soul. That said, there is no reason why, all things being equal, a man shouldn’t marry the better looking of two women.

What Is In A Name?

In my previous post of this series, which examined Hypergamy, I ended up deciding that I didn’t like the word as applied. I suggested that a new word or phrase was needed to explain the phenomena that it was used to describe. So I invite my readers to give it their best shot. Think of a new and more accurate name to describe the phenomena described and commented on in my last post in this series.

That brings this post to a conclusion.

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69 Comments

Filed under Attraction, Blue Pill, Hypergamy, LAMPS, Marriage, Men, Polygamy, Red Pill, Sexual Strategies, State of Nature, Temptation

69 responses to “Analyzing Attraction- Part 5

  1. Scott, of course it is what they hear. They are projecting their own attraction/arousal filters and thought processes onto men. Men are also apt to project in the same manner, although to different results.

    That misunderstanding of how the other sex operates is one of the principle reasons why the present MMP is so messed up.

  2. Feminine But Not Feminist

    @ Rollo

    I don’t get what you’re trying to tell me by quoting that part of your post. It’s a long segment that doesn’t even relate to the point I was trying to make to you, which was that the captions under those photos you posted here are extremely exaggerated to the point of being inaccurate, and that was it.

    @ Hank

    I wasn’t trying to argue that men have it so easy to keep up a perfect physique compared to women. Like I just told Rollo, I was trying to show the folly of his picture post by debunking each caption separately. But in answer to your question – if you take a man and a woman, both of whom eat right and are thin to start with, and have them start working out at the same time, then yes, the woman would achieve the “ideal” physique (like in the picture) before the man would. So in that sense, the woman has it much easier than the man does. As for daily “beautification” to look as good as expected (not including physique), men have it much easier than women because they don’t have to do nearly as much to get to the ideal daily put-together look as women have to do. So as far as who has it easier or harder to get to the “ideal” in looks overall, I think it evens out.

    @ Deti and whoever agrees with his last comment

    There was a thread on this blog from almost a year ago (I forget which one off the top of my head) where you and a lot of the men here argued that if a man isn’t attracted to a woman right off the bat (as in, the first few minutes, or maybe it was seconds), then he never would be. (I remember it happening because I felt like I was being “ganged up on” on that thread over saying that I think it should be given more of a fighting chance than that, that attraction could develop over time). Now it’s the other way around? I wish you guys would make up your minds about this stuff.

  3. Feminine But Not Feminist

    *** I should include Scott’s comment right before Deti’s last comment in my comment directed towards Deti and all who agree with his comment, for the sake of clarification.

  4. @ FBNF

    There was a thread on this blog from almost a year ago (I forget which one off the top of my head) where you and a lot of the men here argued that if a man isn’t attracted to a woman right off the bat (as in, the first few minutes, or maybe it was seconds), then he never would be. (I remember it happening because I felt like I was being “ganged up on” on that thread over saying that I think it should be given more of a fighting chance than that, that attraction could develop over time). Now it’s the other way around? I wish you guys would make up your minds about this stuff.

    I could be wrong, but I think that thread argued the opposite point- that a if a woman isn’t attracted to a man right off the bat, she never would be. The idea is that once women have an impression of a man, it isn’t likely to change.

  5. Hank Flanders

    As far as which sex is more likely to view a member of the opposite sex as more attractive than previously, I can’t say. It is interesting, though, because up until very recently, I was of the opinion that if I wasn’t attracted to someone very early on that I never would be, because that’s the way things have typically gone.

    However, I’ve now found myself VERY attracted to someone whom I wasn’t for the first several months I knew her. I even remember “worrying” she might like me within during that those earlier times, because I noticed certain subtle grins, giggles, and eye movements from her. Now, in sharp contrast to the way I felt before, I’m hoping she likes me, but all of those subtleties I’ve noticed may not mean anything at all, so I still don’t know what she thinks of me and don’t know how to find out without possibly ruining the friendship I’ve established with her family, given that she’s 16 years younger than I am.

    I can’t very well ask her on a date, because her family does courting, not dating. I see her at group functions, so the only thing I can think of to do short of asking to court her is to sit near her and talk to her a lot, but I’m kind of already doing that. The thing is that I’m not the only guy doing that with her, though. I’m starting to get a little concerned that someone else may ask before I do.

  6. *wipes egg off face*

    FBNF isn’t off by too much. I looked back a ways in the Donal archives and found this.

    https://donalgraeme.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/objective-and-subjective-attraction/comment-page-2/#comment-7019

    Yep, that was me. I said that men don’t experience attraction other than right away.

    But, I was also talking about something ever so slightly different, which was “getting to know a woman and seeing if attraction germinates over time”. That’s slightly different from taking a “second look” at a woman who you didn’t really notice before.

  7. @ Hank

    I can’t very well ask her on a date, because her family does courting, not dating. I see her at group functions, so the only thing I can think of to do short of asking to court her is to sit near her and talk to her a lot, but I’m kind of already doing that. The thing is that I’m not the only guy doing that with her, though. I’m starting to get a little concerned that someone else may ask before I do.

    Is this family involvement courting? If so, might be a decent idea to talk to the father first. If he doesn’t approve then it’s a no go anyway.

  8. Deti, here is what you said in that thread, and I don’t think it is entirely incompatible with what I am trying to say, but some clarification would definitely help:

    Attraction for men, or at least the way I’ve always experienced it, is very much binary. She’s either “Yes, she is attractive” or “No, she is not attractive at all”. Girls who went into the “Yes” pile were options. I didn’t pursue girls in the “No” pile.

    I sometimes really hate talking about these things from personal experience, because I am married, and I try to still be a gentlemen. That means something about kissing and telling if I recall. But for discussion that is meant to actually help Chrsitian brothers, I think it can be done tastefully.

    I can recall the “meet cute: story of every girlfriend I have had. Some of them had a lightning strike “love at first sight” feel to them, others not. But the attraction whether it “developed” or was instant, was just as strong in each case.

    An example would be way back in high school I worked at an amusement park, and there was a girl I worked with. She was cute, but for whatever reason, I didn’t make much of it. Maybe it was because I was rebounding from the previous one, I don’t know, But you are right–I already thought she was attractive enough to notice.

    I remember walking into the cafeteria at work one afternoon, and a bunch of my new friends (mixed male and female company) were sitting together at a table. I had already known her for a few weeks. As I walked up, she smiled at me and I remember having the distinct thought “wow. How come I never noticed how cute she is?” That was it, and the story progressed from there.

  9. Feminine But Not Feminist

    @ Deti

    *wipes egg off face*

    Sorry Deti… 😦 … After going back and reading that last comment I made, I notice that it came across with a lot more attitude than I was actually feeling; I was more baffled/confused than anything. And yes, that is the thread that I had in mind. Thank you for tracking that down. 🙂 For the record, I wasn’t trying to single you out there; there were others saying the same sort of thing in one way or another. I was confused by the seeming 180-degree turn. (I’m still trying to figure out the difference that you and Scott are talking about).

  10. I feel like I really threw a wrench into the works here. I do admit that I don’t always find the hard and fast rules of “game” to be workable or even true much of the time. I am part of the crowd that sees it as a lot of stuff you are supposed to learn from your dad or older brothers before you start junior high. Its principles sort of make sense to me–like, with regard to the current discussion: girls size you up and put you in the “yes” or “no” file really fast.

    But for men, I do think there is a qualitative difference and a slow warming up that can occur to an average looking “cute” (as opposed to “hot”) girl. She may be a 6/10 when you meet her, and put her in the back of your mind. But then, you spend some time around her, learn about her internal qualities–especially her feminine qualities of sweetness, soft spoken attitude, respect for masculinity, and then one day she looks at you in a way you never noticed and all the sudden its like “OK, I am going for it.”

    I have never seen the analog to this from a woman.

  11. mdavid

    I’ve never agreed a woman sizes a man up “yes” or “no” fast and that’s fixed. I think it’s more the opposite. I size up women very fast. Most of the time she has a “doable” number in 10 seconds (before she speaks), “datable” number in 10 minutes, and a “marriageable” status in 10 hours. Sure, the ranking of girls within each group moves around as I know them better, but I’m rarely wrong outside of thos time limits. And when she’s pegged, she’s toast.

    Women’s ranking being fixed? Not so much. Yes, women hate weakness, and they spot it fast. And if a man is beta, he’s toast. But if he knows his own mind and ignores her (outcome independent type) he will nearly always stay in undefined territory because men are harder to peg. LAMPS is more complex than 1-10.

  12. @ Scott

    From what I’ve seen the main way a man will become more attractive to a woman is if he doesn’t see her for a few months or usually years and then encounters her again is is more mature. Basically, a substantial personality change from a boy to a man.

    This is fairly common from like high school -> college or say high school and college to 5-10 year reunions.

    From my personal experience the “cute” to “really interested” can happen but doesn’t really happen that much for me. But on some level the attraction is already there, your personalities just may not have clicked or something.

  13. Hank Flanders

    Deep Strength

    Is this family involvement courting? If so, might be a decent idea to talk to the father first. If he doesn’t approve then it’s a no go anyway.

    Well, yeah, but I just kind of wanted to get some indication from her about whether she’s interested or not first. That may be difficult, too, because now, I’m having an even harder time talking to her than before. I can’t seem to think of anything worth discussing. Basically, I’m getting really self-conscious and unconfident around her. It’s like the phenomenon this blogger describes:

    (WARNING: Bad Language)
    http://www.therulesrevisited.com/2011/12/more-confident-he-is-less-he-likes-you.html

    However, maybe I shouldn’t be confident or interested in her at all. The modern belief is that it’s “creepy,” or inappropriate for an older man to pursue a younger woman. I guess I can see why secularists might say that. A lot of them are coming from the perspective that people have sex before marriage and therefore, an older man is just interested in a younger woman as part of some type of sexual conquest.

    Now, of course, some people will say things like, “She was in high school just two years ago,” or “She was only seven when you were starting your career.” All I can think when people say these things is, ‘So? She’s not now.’

    What bothers me, though, is when Christians hold this same view that it’s inappropriate for an older man to pursue a much younger woman. Even my friend and I had this discussion a few weeks ago, and he’s on the side that it’s inappropriate and that it would have been inappropriate for me to have pursued his cousin who’s 12 years younger than I am, even though my friend knows me better than most anyone, including that I’m a virgin myself and that I’m only interested in finding a wife, not in being a player.

    Mind you, he still holds view in spite of the fact that the man his cousin married is one of the rudest and most prideful people you could imagine, based on my friend’s description of him. If one of my best friends whom I’ve known for 18 years thinks I’m not good enough for a member of his family, then what chance do I have with other people? However, I do take solace in the fact that while my friend is a Christian, he’ll be the first to tell you that a lot of his views are based on his feelings rather than what’s actually written in the Bible. I think I’ve even heard him say (or read him comment) that he doesn’t need the Bible.

    I don’t know of any place in the Bible where it states it’s inappropriate for a man to pursue a younger woman. We are instructed that the young lady must be past the flower of her youth, but I think age 19 meets that biblical requirement.

    In any case, other people’s opinions of what’s appropriate don’t really matter, though. All that matters is how the people actually involved feel about it, and with my current situation, I still have no idea. They are a Bible believing family. What it should all come down to in my view is whether they (or any woman and her family) think the relationship would be biblically permissible and whether I’d be good or bad for the woman in question. Would I really be bad for someone just because I’ve been alive a lot longer?

  14. @ Hank

    Well, yeah, but I just kind of wanted to get some indication from her about whether she’s interested or not first. That may be difficult, too, because now, I’m having an even harder time talking to her than before. I can’t seem to think of anything worth discussing. Basically, I’m getting really self-conscious and unconfident around her.

    That’s a whole other topic altogether. Social skills and whatnot need to be cultivated even outside of romantic relationships.

    Outside of this I think you’re overthinking it. If you need some framework for which to work from I recently wrote this:

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/my-5-step-process-to-maturity-in-relationships/

    However, in my opinion if this girl is your only prospect I’d suggest vastly expanding your social circle if at all possible. Even barring the fact that she might be interested in you usually the maturity level at such an age isn’t there, and/or you’re also running the risk of finding a woman who wants a relationship but may not want to get married for 4-5+ years which is a waste of time there.

  15. To elaborate on what I mean I’ll use myself as an example. I’m late 20s and I’ve personally made my lower limit for a woman 22 unless she’s mature beyond her years. I’ve met very, very, very few women who are mature enough that they would be considered marriage material below that age, and it’s unlikely unless she really wants to get married that she would. In the cases of < 22-23 year olds they'll tend to want to get married to a man much closer to their age as well even if he's not as attractive, and as you realized there's the peer and family pressure not to have such a large age difference. That's why I don't bother with that as it's the odds of searching for a nail in 100 haystacks rather than 1.

  16. Hank Flanders

    Deep Strength,

    I’m just saying that I think people, especially Christians, are being unreasonable when they confuse their feelings with morality. Saying something is “inappropriate” like my friend did is implying that someone involved is doing something wrong, and I just don’t see any biblical justification for that view. Obviously, in any potential relationship, there are practical matters to consider like the ones you mentioned, but again, people shouldn’t confuse those with moral matters.

    Social skills and whatnot need to be cultivated even outside of romantic relationships.

    That’s definitely true, and I’m normally pretty socially adjusted and can talk to and get along with a wide variety of people. When I like someone, though, well, I may need a few minutes to get comfortable first.

    That’s why I don’t bother with that as it’s the odds of searching for a nail in 100 haystacks rather than 1.

    I agree, but I didn’t search for the person I mentioned above (who isn’t necessarily my only prospect, but she’s certainly on my mind a lot). I just kind of got to know her by chance (if there is such a thing).

  17. mdavid

    HF, …is implying that someone involved is doing something wrong, and I just don’t see any biblical justification for that view.

    Biblical justification? The bible doesn’t address every moral issue; its books were chosen based upon liturgical useage not moral completeness. For the complete moral guide, the bible says to use the Church (1 Tim 3:15).

  18. Hank Flanders

    Which church has the supreme moral guide, mdavid?

  19. @ Hank

    Unfortunately, those under the feelings over truth camp in Christianity is quite high. It’s a scary thought because the narrow road is not composed of feelings but only truth.

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