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is there any reason at all to think that these "tests" are accurate?

(male, 48 years old, phd, mild beta which is probably accurate but i'm married and don't have to pretend to change my personality to get laid)

Anonymous - there is some evidence in support of a handful of items on the test. Risk-taking behaviour and high testosterone is correlated with having more causal sexual encounters (though is that evidence of high value or simply a willingness to come to terms?). Height is positively correlated with reproductive success up to about 6'4", so that item is o.k.

In terms of the behavioural stuff - it's not falsifiable. If a guy goes out and tries the pick-up artist lines and they don't work, the problem is obviously not the lines but that he hasn't properly mastered the pick up artist routine.

My students are often surprised to discover that married people, on average, have sex more frequently than single people (I think the data is in the CCHS). They don't seem to realize that marriage is an institution designed precisely for the point of having sex.

I've been told me that I should think of these pick up artist sites as being like a male version of a trashy romance novel, just some kind of fantasy, with no more relevance to the real world than 50 Shades of Grey. I hope this is right. But I'm not convinced.

I've seen these economic perspectives on dating and sex before, and am curious as to how they translate to the "market" for gay men. The market is much smaller and the incentives for the involved parties may align more than they converge in the way that creates the dynamics between heterosexual men and women. Everyone's priorities are different, but do you know of any trends or distinct properties of that market?

Well done! Nixon to China; Frances to Roissy's blog. (I couldn't have gotten away with it, but now I will put it on my reading list when I eventually teach that Men's Studies course!)

"But does masculinity have to involve being a jerk?"

Roissy/Heartiste would say "yes", because, whether we want to or not, "chicks dig jerks".

I'm not sure this "reflects a genuine yearning to forge a new masculinity"; more like betas being mugged by reality, and realising they have to act like alphas. "Forget what women say, watch what they do."

Really powerful men's status is uncontested. They can be gracious if they want.The best jerkiness is not needing to be jerk. You don't shoot at ambulances because you are the survivor.
Really attractive women don't need women's magazines advices.
These sites attract those who don't haver game and never will. That's why they look so creepy. Like a cosmetic counter where most of the customers will not increase their attractiveness, merely look tarted-up.
The pick-up artist are alpha only in their world. "Au royaume des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois" goes the proverb. How many bank presidents pick up the kind of chick that hang out in the kind of bar where this kind of guy pick up that kind of chick?
It is said of a famous Montréal bar-restaurant that it is where half-educated sons of used-car dealers pretending to be movie producers try to pick up half-witted waitresses pretending to be actresses.

My God...what a world we've created.

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand."

(And, on behalf of William Butler Yeats, I must add: no pun intended.)

Physical attraction is primal. I've heard the argument that we are attracted to someone based on how well their genes would combine with ours, not based on whether we would be happy spending the rest of our life with them in a domestic partnership. You are not picking your partner by discounting flows of happiness over many periods.

From psychology today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201001/womens-rape-fantasies-how-common-what-do-they-mean

"From 1973 through 2008, nine surveys of women's rape fantasies have been published. They show that about four in 10 women admit having them (31 to 57 percent) with a median frequency of about once a month. Actual prevalence of rape fantasies is probably higher because women may not feel comfortable admitting them [...]

Sixty-two percent said they'd had at least one such fantasy. But responses varied depending on the terminology used. When asked about being "overpowered by a man," 52 percent said they'd had that fantasy, the situation most typically depicted in women's romance fiction. But when the term was "rape," only 32 percent said they'd had the fantasy. These findings are in the same ballpark as previous reports."

In the wild, almost all reproduction occurs as rape. The notion of giving "permission" to have sex is unusual. We can create social institutions such as religious organizations, education, and other government initiatives to try suppress some of our preferences and augment them with preferences that promote a society in which a person is more than just a gene carrier but has their own non-reproductive goals, but underneath the surface, there is a lot of biology urging us to act in self-destructive ways, from the point of view of lifetime happiness.

Frances: "Once upon a time a man could feel like a man by getting married, having kids, buying a house and a pick-up truck. But we have been living, for some time now, in a Bruce Springsteen economy: these jobs are going boys, and they ain't coming back."

Dalrock gives an alternate perspective on "Why aren’t men responding to economic signals?". Short version: "they are, but it's the signals from the marriage market, not the labour market".

rsj: "In the wild, almost all reproduction occurs as rape."

No. Female sexual selection is important in lots of species, and there are a good number of monogamous species out there. "Almost all" is way too strong.

Chris "and am curious as to how they translate to the "market" for gay men"

Lee Badgett's work on this is terrific, and Kit Carpenter has done some very good work too. The cliche of the gay male dating market is that there is a big premium on youth and hotness - i.e. it looks more like the women's list. But at the same time, that doesn't really seem to be the world that my gay male friends live in.

Nick: "more like betas being mugged by reality"

No, I'm with anonymous in the first comment. I'd be willing to get that there's a lot of betas out there getting plenty of low effort, high quality quality nookie while the alphas are running around dtrying to hook up with Ms Goodbar.

Jacques Rene: "How many bank presidents pick up the kind of chick that hang out in the kind of bar where this kind of guy pick up that kind of chick? "

Yes, precisely.

rsj: "I've heard the argument that we are attracted to someone based on how well their genes would combine with ours"

If it's a matter of physical attraction, pure and simple, all of this PUA stuff is utterly immaterial.

Nick, on your last comment - my post on springbok should have been called "The end of men is caused by men." What we're seeing in our economy is corporate harems, where a few men - company CEOS and senior managers - are extracting the value created by female labour - value that used to be extracted by husbands or fathers.

I do frequently wonder whether pick-up artists are having lots of sex with the same group of women, who have lots of sex with pick-up artists. What does the network graph look like?

(I bet that somewhere there's a venereal disease epidemiologist who has that charted out somewhere, actually...)

"What we're seeing in our economy is corporate harems, where a few men - company CEOS and senior managers - are extracting the value created by female labour - value that used to be extracted by husbands or fathers."

Really? Supposing I understand the claim, I'm not sure I agree. CEOs and senior managers are extracting value created by labour. It just happens to be increasingly female (pick your reasons). Maybe men are just getting sick of being screwed by a completely corrupt corporate governance structure and are choosing what seems to them fairer but less lucrative jobs/work arrangements. Having your wife join a corporate harem in return for taking on some some light duty chores like cleaning, doing laundry, and cooking (which many like doing anyway) might be a life improving choice if it means being rid of your a__hole boss.

And on the claim that men no longer have the incentive to produce a big surplus to support the family ... Another way to look at it is that they now have the choice to let the females do it (while working for the exploitive harem), so they're dropping out. Hey, woman asked for it. Let them have it ;-)

Now if you'l excuse me, I have a toilet to clean.

david: "What does the network graph look like?"

Susan Walsh on Hooking Up Smart had a chart which showed what she *thinks* it used to look like and now looks like. I can't find it, but it used to look like this:

Men Women
A----A
B----B
C----C
D----D

(The highest DMV man hooked up with (or married) the highest DMV woman; the second highest man hooked up with the second highest woman, etc.)

Now, she says, it looks more like (I can't draw it, but imagine a lot of lines connecting man A to women ABCD, with no lines connecting men BCD. The alpha men have a (rotating or not) harem of women, while the beta/gamma men get none. (And while Roissy can be seen as trying to teach beta males to act like alpha cads, to even up the odds, Susan can be seen as advising beta girls to hook up with and marry decent beta-provider boys.)

One problem with Susan's chart is that it's a static picture of a dynamic market, because DMV rank changes as you age.

(Roissy claims to be amoral, but if he really were amoral he wouldn't be spending so much time writing his blog, which both costs him time and increases his own competition.)

David, Nick,

Hopefully David you've followed my advice and not looked at the woman's test, so I'll reproduce the women's and men's IQ questions here. Here's the IQ scoring for women:

3. What is your IQ? (This relates tangentially to your ability to connect emotionally with a man.)

Under 85: -1 point
85 to 100: 0 points
101 to 120: +1 point
121 to 145: 0 points
Over 145: -1 point

Here's the IQ scoring for men:

15. What is your IQ?

Under 85: -1 point
85 to 110: 0 points
110 to 130: +1 point
130 to 145: 0 points
over 145: -1 point

Notice now the ranges are different? So 130 IQ man hooks up with 120 IQ woman, and 130 IQ woman is on her own.

Notice, also, that the guy who scores in the 96th percentile on his LSATSs and goes on to be a tax partner at a law firm is probably just another beta as far as Roissy is concerned - his IQ is too high. This scheme is a way of redefining success for men.

These so-called alphas sure aren't the kind of guys who turn me on. But then, as you quite rightly point out David, this whole DMV stuff is about the bar scene. The sexy smart charming funny person who you'd like as a future partner probably isn't going near the place.

Really Patrick. If I understand your claim many men enjoy doing laundry and consider cleaning light duty.

This slightly off-topic (but maybe only slightly).

Question: how would you in fact measure DMV for men and women from market data?

For goods like used cars that exchange for money, it's easy. You use market price as a measure of car market value. And you can use data on prices of cars by age and hp etc to construct a hedonic price index (or blue book).

But if you had a barter market, where heterogenous cars were swapped one-for-one with heterogenous (say) computers (the rules are that one car is always swapped for one computer, and each car seller tries to get the best computer in exchange and each computer seller tries to get the best car in exchange), and if you only had data on the ages and hp etc. of cars that were swapped against the ages and hp etc. of computers, how would you use that data to construct a DMV for cars and a DMV for computers?

There must be an answer to this question. Somebody must have thought about this before me.

Does anyone see what I'm trying to ask?

To (partially) answer my own question:

Suppose that bigger cars were always swapped for bigger computers (the biggest car is swapped for the biggest computer, the second biggest car is swapped for the second biggest computer, etc., all the way down).

That market data would be consistent with two totally different hypotheses:

1. people prefer bigger cars and bigger computers.

2. people prefer smaller cars and smaller computers.

Monetary exchange is like polygamy. A high DMV car is one that can marry a big harem of dollars, because we assume sellers of cars prefer to marry more money than less, and sellers of dollars prefer to get a bigger share of one car than a smaller share. We can't measure DMV under strict monogamy, without using surveys to ask people. (Or maybe watching who is in excess demand or supply??)

Nick, I think I understand.

In some ways it's more like housing, though, in that the purchase price doesn't represent the current value of the asset - some appreciate over time, some depreciate. You don't marry a colonel; you marry a sergent and spend 20 years as an army spouse. Also, some houses are owner occupied, with the same owners for years and years, some are rented on long-term contracts, and some are used as bed and breakfasts. The DMV is looking at the bed and breakfast market, not the owner-occupied housing market.

Also, as I noted earlier, the idea that DMV can be raised by making the right moves is pretty difficult to test empirically - if people follow the rules and fail to attract a mate we don't know why - is it that there's adverse selection (people who read the rules are the less desirable people to begin with), or are the rules not being followed, or....

Plus there's the problem of lemons - someone who's older and single for reasons that are plausibly exogenous e.g. widows and widowers has a much higher DMV.

Nick, I'd only read your first comment when I replied. Do you think we can work canoes in here somehow, so you can write about your three favourite subjects simultaneously?

The other issue is that there is search going on, and it's not clear precisely what we're measuring. Is someone who finds a partner very quickly someone who is highly desirable in the marriage market, or are they someone who figures the benefits of continued search are low.

Thanks Frances. It definitely should have been canoes rather than computers!

On thinking about it in the shower (after doing the laundry and cleaning the house ;) ) I think the problem is solvable.

For example, one could simply use brute force:

Construct 100 different ways of measuring DMV for men, and another 100 different ways of measuring DMV for women. Then, for each of the 10,000 pairs of the two DMVs, calculate the sum squared residuals over all men i and women j who hook up of DMVmen(i)-DMVwomen(j)=residual(i,j).
Then choose that one pair of all 10,000 pairs of ways of measuring DMV that minimises Sum Squared Residuals.

The econometrics would presumably be harder than the simple hedonic price equation for cars: price = a = bAge + cHP, where OLS would work fine. Because it's a two-sided estimation of two hedonic price equations simultaneously.

If you found a pair of DMV equations that minimised SSR, then the negative of both DMVs would work equally well (as would any monotonic transformation, of course), as in my 8:25 comment, but that is perhaps a trivial problem, akin to saying it's possible that all goods are really bads.

But yes, search, lemons, enforceability of long term contracts, would make measuring (and even defining?) DMV much harder.

Nick, in this way of doing it, one hook-up = one match. What if we say instead that one act of sexual intercourse = one match? Then Anonymous in comment 1, who probably uses pick-up lines like "Daily Show's on re-runs this week, how about we go to bed early?" is probably outscoring all of the PUAs (pick up artists).

Frances: "Also, as I noted earlier, the idea that DMV can be raised by making the right moves is pretty difficult to test empirically ..."

Dunno. The PUA guys are very much (low-level) empiricists. Not exactly white lab coat stuff, but they do try different things and watch what works.

Frances @ 9.34. But there's quality as well as quantity to consider. One alpha = how many betas? Plus, there's the "taste for variety" (or sameness) question.

Nick, but the strategies are entirely positional, i.e. they allow Male A to displace Male B. If everyone uses them, they cease to have any value. Except to the extent that they are successful in persuading women to increase the number of sexual partners they have, be less selective in the choice of partner, or decrease the age at which they start having sex.

Which I sure as heck wouldn't see as being a good outcome for the young women who I know and care about.

BTW: there's a fair chance this post will be noticed and linked and a large number of PUA/manosphere commenters will descend, a bit like MMTers on steroids. Don't sweat it if/when it happens.

@Nick Rowe

But that network graph would imply that the women report having remarkably few partners each, plus that male A has sex with remarkably low-status women like female D. The former tends to contradict conventional wisdom in sexually-transmitted disease: e.g.

taken from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v411/n6840/fig_tab/411907a0_F2.html

(note that, given heterosexual pairing, the averages must necessarily be the same. Females tend to under-report: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224490309552164 )

whereas the latter contradicts a significant undercurrent of PUA writing, namely the notion that it attracts high-status women. My suspicion, again, is rather that there are significant subsets of both men and women who are, to put it vulgarly, horny and having lots of sex with multiple partners who are themselves having lots of sex with multiple partners. PUA is a guide for into self-selecting into this group. But males are encouraged to boast about their number of partners, whereas females are not.

(this matters in STD transmission because hub-males and spoke-females imply a much higher degree of vulnerability to STD spread, for a given amount of reported sexual contact. A single female that has sex with two hub males will have a much larger number of female second-degree contacts. But if hub-males only have sex with other hub-females, then STDs get trapped within hubs)

Let me point out that my hub-to-hub suspicion is just that: a suspicion. The distribution shown above is still consistent with arguing for alpha males who have sex with a great many loyal females, who themselves have only that one partner each.

But then there must also be males who have somewhat fewer sexual partners, albeit partners who have increasingly many partners themselves, until the inverse female with a great very many loyal male partners is reached (to achieve the nearly-parallel distributions above). The distribution is consistent with multiple kinds of sexual pairing networks.

It's just that a hub-to-hub explanation seems most obvious to me. If you're a female exploring a bar for casual sex, are you going to be seeking males who seek long-term pair-bonding, or looking for males that are looking for casual sex? If you're looking for casual sex, do you invest in long-term or short-term appeal as a mate?

Rachel, nope that's not the claim. Ignore me. It's just my warped sense of humour.

david: agreed that average total lifetime (till death) partners must arithmetically be the same for men and women (assuming equal numbers of hetero mean and women in each cohort and constant cohort size over time). Only the variance and skews of the distributions can be different. But looking at the right hand graph (b) you posted does seem to *suggest* the male distribution has a higher variance and is skewed right. But only *suggests*, because we know that women must be under-reporting or men over-reporting (or both), and the reported distributions would shift from the true distributions depending on who lied how much.

What I think we do know is that, across cultures and across across centuries, (and across species) more men than women fail to find any partner at all. What varies is the extent of the difference in variance/skew.

The other thing we need to keep in mind (and I'm not quite sure how this would affect the results) is that if we survey men and women at a given age, rather than on their deathbeds, and they tell us honestly how many partners they have had, the results would be affected by: women tending to date older men; women's DMV having a steeper peak with age if some men gain status as they age. That's the static/dynamic thing I was talking about earlier. Both men and women cycle up and down the DMV scale as they age. The hypothesis I've seen is that young women "ride the alpha c**k carousel" (and so have more partners on average than young men), but then try to marry a beta provider when they get older, and so have fewer partners than older men.

I can't quite get my head around it fully. But while I'm sure that there's a lot of hub-hub in the overall picture, we might see young women being relatively a hub, alpha males of all ages being relatively a hub, and everyone else being a spoke (or not connected to the grid at all).

I'm not seeing that the graphs show that the variance and skews are different; the trends are nearly parallel. They suggest that the means are different, but that can't be right.

The hypothesis I've seen is that young women "ride the alpha c**k carousel" (and so have more partners on average than young men), but then try to marry a beta provider when they get older, and so have fewer partners than older men.

Sure, but then who are the older men having sex with?

Frances: "Nick, but the strategies are entirely positional, i.e. they allow Male A to displace Male B."

Agreed. But (I think) (say) Susan Walsh's position would be that it's better for a girl to have a 50% chance of either one alpha or one beta who sticks with her for 2 periods than to have a 50% chance of one alpha for one period in each period. (Not sure I've said that right.)

david: that's a log scale on the horizontal axis, I think? Suppose (to keep it simple) we assume women halve their numbers of reported sexual partners (or men double). That would shift the women's curve by an equal log amount to the right (I think), so it would be parallel to the original curve, but it would now cross the men's curve.

Older alpha males are having sex with younger females, as well as with a smaller number of older alpha females.

I don't know, that assumption seems a little suspicious. Something has gone wrong when zero women have exactly one sexual partner. Eyeballing the graph shows that the crossing would have to occur at x=5 at most, probably 3 or 4, exactly where small-number effects would dominate and naive multiplication by a factor would be dubious.

(to be clear: my earlier remarks refer to graph A; our discussion has now shifted to graph B)

Sorry if I'm missing something in the litany of above comments, but as someone who had never been in a relationship until age 26 and third year of econ grad school, I owe both my loss of virginity and my first girlfriend to pickup strategies, which I started attempting to take seriously at 25 out of desperation. It works. And for the criticism that it only provides hookups instead of relationships - well, there's never going to be a relationship if you act nice/proper/boring and never get a chance. Act 'alpha', get your foot in the door, and go from there. Economics has told me to react to the market - there's no point in standing, watching, and complaining when nobody walks in the door of your business.

Oops - "there's no point in standing, watching, and complaining when nobody walks in the door of your business."

I know another economist whose dating strategy was to sit at home and wait until someone called him and, no, it's not really a sound strategy. There is value in lots of these things that teach good relationship strategies, whether it's How to Win Friends and Influence People or The Dog Whisperer. But, really, something that urges you to value women almost entirely in terms of youth and physical attractiveness, with a little bit weight given to caring/nuturing/enthusiasm for anal? Do the women's test and see how many points your partner gets, and ask yourself if that's a good measure of her attractiveness?

Nick: "Susan Walsh's position would be that it's better for a girl to have a 50% chance of either one alpha or one beta who sticks with her for 2 periods than to have a 50% chance of one alpha for one period in each period. (Not sure I've said that right.)"

So she figures that betas are better than alphas? Or that it's better to have a guy who sticks around, regardless of whether he's an alpha or a beta?

What really disgusts me about this whole thing is the labelling of men as alphas or betas on the basis of their assertiveness/dominance behaviour.

In Africa, it's the biggest, strongest and healthiest elephant who gets laid (with some adjustment for tusk size). Alphaness is about intrinsic competence, not about a bunch of b***s*** psychological tricks.

"In Africa, it's the biggest, strongest and healthiest elephant who gets laid (with some adjustment for tusk size)."

Being able to remain reasonably composed when confronted by a mouse probably also helps.

david - on the difference between the number of sexual partners reported by men and women - think about what happens if there's a growing population, and men date women younger than they are? (see my previous post on son preference/missing women).

Giovanni - or when confronted with a vast image out of spiritus mundi ;)

Or some rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem. Which brings us back to the alpha male pickup artist...

(Alright, enough of that...poor Yeats must be revolving in his grave like a lathe at this point.)

"What really disgusts me about this whole thing is the labelling of men as alphas or betas on the basis of their assertiveness/dominance behaviour. "

It's a lousy proxy for actual success. I wonder if in Norway, where tax returns are public information, these dominance mind games are less successful because women can just flip open their iPhone and check the guy's income.

Patrick,

No, income is a proxy for "success", which is itself a proxy for being a protector/provider, not the other way around.

Frances,

Do you seriously believe that women are attracted only to men who *appear* to be dominant and aggressive, but do not behave this way? Really? It just sight and no other sense or experience that is affected?

This is some weird theory of evolution, where the whoever *looks* fittest survives.

No, it is much more than just appearance but also the way you carry yourself and behave that plays an important role here. While there is a great deal of heterogeneity, it is puritanical wishful thinking that women only want someone who looks tough and aggressive, but are turned away when they discover the person is tough and aggressive. I've had several women tell me that they are attracted to arrogant men and more that they are attracted to dominant men. You cannot superimpose what you think people should be attracted to with what you think they are attracted to.

Moreover, saying that you are "disgusted" that some women are attracted to arrogant and/or domineering behavior, or that those seeking women exhibit the behavior expected of them is not an appropriate attitude when discussing sexuality or partner selection. Human nature is not obligated to fulfill anyone's liberal ideals, and it is best to leave your sense of disgust at home before trying to have an informative discussion of relationships or sexuality.

I think we cannot really conclude unless we see a trend within a similar group of females. There are lot of "initial condition" diversities which are difficult to account for. As an instance, the bias towards alpha-behaviour can be purely because of psychological reasons stemming from upbringing and childhood conditions.

However, I agree with you that males tend to display brashness as if it would attract females. Whether or not females are really attracted is different question. Males do believe so. In the process males forget that chivalry and bravery are required to exist side-by-side. Mostly, males sacrifice chivalry for brashness.

For as long as I can remember, women have held a near-monopoly on the "relationship advice" business. And boys have been advised to study hard, work hard at a good job, then buy her flowers, drinks, meals, then "man up" and go down on their knees and offer her a ring, don't be "shallow" and complain if she lets herself go, sleep on the couch unless she wants you to share "her" bed, work hard to support her if she wants to stay home, or else share in the housework if she wants to have a career, have kids if she wants them, and none if she doesn't, then get divorced, move out of "her" home, and work even harder to pay for her and "her" kids, and not be a "deadbeat dad", and then die quietly, like a good man.

And now the internet has made it possible for men to break into the relationship advice business, because they can't be shamed into silence or pretending to believe what they don't believe or pretending to want what they don't want. And men are asking what *men* want out of a relationship, and what actually works so they can get what they want out of a relationship. And what men want isn't always the same as what men have been told they ought to want. And men are learning what works for them, and learning that a lot of the advice they have previously been given is a lie. And there are many out there like Oops, who realise they have wasted many years of their lives listening to that bad advice. Many of them are angry. Lots more are just cynical.

God only knows where it will all end. Women are very much off the pedestal for these guys, and there aren't many white knights left around. Giovanni/Yeats might be right. What have "we" created? But on the other hand, if someone like Roissy (who Tyler Cowen thinks is "evil") can give men and boys good advice on what really works in getting and maintaining a relationship, he just *might* end up doing a lot more good than all of us macroeconomists!

The "manipulation"/"psychological tricks" charge comes up frequently on PUA sites, and it gets answered. Individual women try to make themselves attractive to men (the main topic of many women's magazines); and individual men try to make themselves attractive to women (PUA sites). Which is "manipulation"? Make-up, and plastic surgery, are at least as manipulative as PUA pick-up lines, and more deceptive.

They aren't "urging" men to evaluate women according to the DMV formula. They are trying to construct a formula to reflect how men *actually* evaluate women. How accurate is it? I don't know. But probably a lot more accurate than any formula that tells men how someone else thinks they *ought* to evaluate women.

There's some fudging/ambiguity on PUA sites about the meaning of the word "alpha". Sometimes "alpha" simply means "whatever attracts women". Sometimes it means "assertive/dominance etc. traits, which as a matter of empirical fact, seem to attract women".

"So she [Susan Walsh] figures that betas are better than alphas? Or that it's better to have a guy who sticks around, regardless of whether he's an alpha or a beta?"

A bit of both, I think. I haven't read her thoroughly enough to know for sure.

BTW: anonymous mh (very first comment above): it is not correct that married men do not need "game". I would say that married men need game even more, because much worse things can happen to you than simply not getting laid. There is a sub-genre of game for those in Long Term Relationships. It's not just about picking up chicks in bars. That's how it started out, and most of it is still about that.

The spam filter didn't like my comment!

Nick - "women have held a near-monopoly on the "relationship advice" business"

The advice was out there. How to Win Friends and Influence People was a mega-sensation. It had sections on how to be a leader, how to get your own way, and even in the original edition, how to have a happy home life. His rules:

Seven Rules For Making Your Home Life Happier.
Don't nag.
Don't try to make your partner over.
Don't criticize.
Give honest appreciation.
Pay little attentions.
Be courteous.
Read a good book on the sexual side of marriage.

I don't know how those rules strike you, Nick, but I think someone who followed them would be pleasant and easy to live with. Interestingly, those rules were left out of the 1981 edition of the book.

Then there's the Joy of Sex and that whole genre.
And the earnest teen relationship advice genre.

If we go back in time far enough, inspired by Rahul above, there are other guides to behaviour, like the medieval ideal of chivalry.

" And what men want isn't always the same as what men have been told they ought to want."

This sounds like a case for behavioural economics! Seriously. I suspect this is one of these situations where our primitive this-is-what-I-want-now brain and our planner brain this-is-what's-in-my-long-term-best-interests brain are seriously at odds. E.g. when the this is what I want now brain is urging you to make a move on some student you're supervising, and the long term best interests brain is saying nope, bad idea.

rsj: "saying that you are "disgusted""

I'm disgusted by a lot of this PUA stuff for much the reason that I'm disgusted by casinos and junk food.

Yes, a bit of dominant behaviour can definitely be a turn-on - think the number of women who've bought 50 Shades of Grey. And casinos are exciting and junk food tastes good - I haven't had a Big Mac for months if not years, but I can still imagine its mouth watering deliciousness.

The problem is when others prey on our weaknesses and vulnerabilities to get us to do things we don't want to do, or that are not in our long term best interests.

rsj - If you have a daughter, imagine her as a PUA's target. Do you feel a little bit of disgust now?

One thing I forgot to add but really should add: Some on the PUA blogs (eg Dalrock and Roissy, IIRC) say that, once the anger and cynicism pass, they actually come to a deeper appreciation of women, once the pretty lies have gone.

BTW, I really don't spend all my time reading PUA sites! The order is: economics, cars, maybe canoes in Summer, random stuff like genetics, and then PUA. Think of it as the male equivalent of reading womens mags.

I am loving the desire to quantity these characteristics. It seems to me that this PUA test has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the marriage market. It is a means to gaining access to the short-term casual sex market. There have been several studies done showing that women have very different preferences for men based on the type of relationship they are seeking - short term or long term. Women seeking sort term relationships like the bossy, high testosterone guys but in for long term relationships they look for someone who has other qualities, like being more creative and caring. The observation that the test only focusing only on the short term relationship side is why income doesn't matter in the test - the idea is to find someone to bang not someone whose children you will be providing for.

As a aside, I suggest that the whole "genre" is focused at men might never have access to the long term market even if that is what they are wanted. It seems to me that these guys are about two steps away from the looking for a wive on the mail order bride market.

rsj, I don't understand your point. I think I said income was a measure of success and play acting the part of a puffed-up yobbo wasn't.

If you have a daughter, imagine her as a PUA's target. Do you feel a little bit of disgust now?

What would I feel disgust at?

A) That my hormone-filled daughter might be attracted to men who violate social norms -- e.g. are aggressive or arrogant towards her?
B) That someone's hormone-filled son, who is really a big sweetie, might feel pressured to act in such a way as to win my daughter?
C) That someone who really is aggressive and arrogant might succeed?
D) That my daughter is not attracted to these types of men but has to deal with them in social settings?
E) That my daughter thinks of herself as disgusting because she is taught that she *should* want something she doesn't, and shouldn't be attracted to something that does attract her?

The only real concern here is D), and what would happen is that the PUA would try to impress my daughter by asking acting arrogant, and she would walk away, at which point they would look for someone who is attracted to that. With heterogeneous preferences, that's the best you can hope for in a crowded bar. I would be much more afraid of the guy who acts nice but turns out differently.

Really, it's better for everyone involved if we not be disgusted by anything to do with the occult practices of human dating. This is most important with parents, for whom it is hardest, so it would be an example of long term success at odds with visceral reactions.

But I live in San Francisco; Are you really polite all the time in Canada?

rsj - None of the above.

F) That she might get hurt.
G) That someone might try to hurt her.

Under F goes everything from date rape, nasty STDs, and pregnancy to generally unpleasant sexual encounters.

Marina: "I suggest that the whole "genre" is focused at men might never have access to the long term market even if that is what they are wanted"

Thanks for commenting, that's a great insight.

B.t.w., Marina has a great book just out called Dollars and Sex, and her column is now being hosted by Psychology Today.

Marina: "There have been several studies done showing that women have very different preferences for men based on the type of relationship they are seeking - short term or long term. Women seeking sort term relationships like the bossy, high testosterone guys but in for long term relationships they look for someone who has other qualities, like being more creative and caring."

Exactly. That observation is a commonplace on PUA blogs. But now think about it from the "creative and caring" "beta" male point of view. He waits around in the "Let's Just Be Friends" zone until he's in his late 30's, while the young women of his age screw around with all the alphas. Then, when the young women realise they are about to hit the wall, and need to find a husband quick to be a good father and provider, they "settle" for someone like him to exploit.

Not such a great deal for the beta male, is it? It's not what *he* wants. And is it any surprise that beta males realise it's a raw deal, and try to do something about it, by learning to act like alphas?

"It seems to me that these guys are about two steps away from the looking for a wive on the mail order bride market."

Standard feminist shaming tactics used to try to stifle dissent. Next you'll be saying they all have small c*cks. More likely, they are half a step away from looking for a better deal elsewhere, or else avoiding marriage altogether.

For once, try to realise that women like you no longer have a monopoly on the subject of sex and relationships, and try to understand that there might be a male point of view too. And that men are going to do what's in *their* interests.

Nick - Do you know Marina? Do you know anything about her? If not, don't talk about "women like you".

She is *not* trying to be judgemental, simply making an observation about the dating market. Not at all different from the types of observations you have been known to make from time to time.

O.k., maybe Marina is being a bit judgemental, but she does realize that there is a male point of view. And she certainly knows that men are going to do what's in their interests!

I took time to explore Heartist and saw some fun things.
IQ over 160 is negative because "they have low social skills" which is untrue. The 160 don't date in high school. They play a long game. As the story go (and Si non e vero, e bene trovato...), CalTech rallying cry is "Next year, you'll work for us!". But the concept of the 160 driving a Mercedes to his Silicon Valley mansion after floating his start-up is beyond the immediate dreams and understanding of the PUA prospects.

There is a story buried in the comments about a woman pining after some dark handsome guy at University to which she hopes ( and does ) losing her virginity. After which , of course he pump-and-dump her. She then settles for some "boring" guy with which she has two children and then divorce him. She also learns that the fdark tec is dead seemingly without issue. Not necessarily wanting to go Yanomano (and resurrect the Chagnon wars) where seemingly the most violent men breed young but die young while calmer types survives longer. Which of the two men had the best reproductive strategy?

"fdark tec" should read dark tec"

Frances: I don't mind her being judgmental. I do mind when she suggests, based on no evidence whatsoever, that the men who hang out on PUA sites are unmarriageable except to a mail-order bride. That was an insulting put-down of a lot of men. She was calling us losers. It would be like saying that the women who read her blog are fat and ugly. It was also an attempt to shame men into disassociating themselves from the "genre" which competes with her own authority on the subject. And one of the things I have learned from PUA/manosphere sites is to recognise when women use that tactic.

Jacques Rene: "There is a story buried in the comments about a woman pining after some dark handsome guy at University to which she hopes ( and does ) losing her virginity. After which , of course he pump-and-dump her." . It is disturbing reading. I feel sad for all the parties involved. More ugly truths.

Nick, I'm going out with the usual suspect, it may be better if we drop this.

Under F goes everything from date rape, nasty STDs, and pregnancy to generally unpleasant sexual encounters.

A gem. A girl asks a guy "do you want to buy me a drink?" and he answers "no, but you can buy me a drink" -- suddenly he is a rapist?

This whole debate is about men feeling the need to act tough, when they are not really tough, because if they don't they will have a lower chance of dating success. It is the opposite of date rape, when a man acts nice on the outside, but changes later on.

But I think this is a common theme, because as soon as any social norms are violated in the dating world, a certain conservative segment cries out "rape! danger! think of our daughters!" -- Not because if the man isn't on his knees holding flowers, the he must be a rapist, but because they have internalized a set of "good behavior" and "bad behavior" based on social custom, and anyone engaging in the bad behavior must really be a dangerous person. This is exactly why PUA works, and has been going on for a long time.

Girl brings home a guy with long hair, and the parents are up all night worried about rape or the girl getting "in trouble". Because the parents view the boy as dangerous, the girl is more attracted to him. Then more boys grow their hair out while parents decry that they just want their daughter to be "treated nicely".

You have to admit that there is a certain humor to all of this.

rsj - Do you deny that the PUA aim to get women to have sex with them, and to get women in a position where sex could happen? If so, then this clearly is the source of our misunderstanding, because I was under the impression that the whole PUA movement was about increasing men's chances of having sex.

Unfortunately casual sex is risky. More sexual partners = more risk. It may be intoxicating, exciting, addictive, and all sorts of other things, but it's risky.

IIRC You wrote a post Frances where you mentioned that a girl's incentives in picking dating partners may not line up with her parents' incentive in approving them. In particular you mentioned that dating a bad boy provided short-term utility to the girl that was not shared by her parents (who only enjoy the utility of her long-term partners). This seems very similar to some of the current discussion, but the context on your conclusion are different. I tried to find this post with Google and failed, so I apologize if I am putting words in your mouth.

PUA largely seems to be about tricking oneself into overcoming instincts, learned behaviors, and social anxiety in favor of behaviors that are more conducive to achieving a desired goal. In this way it strikes me as being similar to Cognitive Behavior Therapy with a layer of gimmicky marketing on top.

When we look at what bothers people about PUA we might see:

1) It encourages the use of spammy pick-up tactics
2) practitioners turn it into a way of thinking that colours their view of the world outside of just achieving their goal
2a) the process encourages thinking of women as automota and the goal encourages thinking of women as sex toys. This may be conducive, but there should at least be a disclaimer that this is a useful but willfully inaccurate approximation. There may be a parallel in treating men like meal tickets, but that's a separate discussion.
2b) it encourages bizarre values (eg smart women are undesirable)
3) it may be seen as promoting dischonesty

It seems like most of the potential harm of PUA comes from the layer of gimmicky marketing. I don't like to tell people "x is bad," and I think people dismiss this as moralizing when others do so. I prefer to offer "y is better than x." In this case I might refer men to cognitive behavioral therapy as a means of overcoming social anxiety and naivete.

IMO the best way to deal with spammy pick-ups is to teach women better signalling. It's absurd to blame men for spammy pick-ups when it's the only available strategy.

We lie to kids all the time. This includes but is not limited to telling kids what they should look for in a relationship and how to achieve it. As Frances notes in her original post, this is linked to identity. I view it as being similar to telling kids that marijuana is a "gateway drug." I think everyone would be better off if we lied less.

oblivious - I don't remember saying that, but then I say a lot of different things.

I agree with much of what you say. The Susan Walsh site that Nick referred to earlier, hookingupsmart, is about teaching women how to deal with this culture.

Dear Nick and Frances,

I have been a long time reader of you guys AND Roissy. I strongly recommend you spend some time reading his blog as far back as you can. You will probably find him repulsive, but I have NEVER anywhere read anyone with as much insight into the fundamental dynamics of male/female relationships. Plus he's hilarious.

Best regards.

JoeMac - Had a chat with Nick about this today. I still find Roissy repulsive, Nick still thinks he has NEVER anywhere read anyone with as much insight into the fundamental dynamics of male/female relationships. But at least the two of us have, I think, come to respect each other's views.

For a counterpoint/antidote to the PUA/MRAery (really, Nick?), here is David Futrelle, bête noire of Internet PUAs everywhere. Also, in cartoon form, A Voice for Pierre.

--Your friendly neighbourhood political correctness warrior.

Frances,

OK, now I see the source of the misunderstanding. You are worried that if the men know what women want than they will be more successful in their search -- the market will clear. You don't want the market to clear -- you want the women and men to be frustrated in their attempts to find a sexual partner, with the men being misled about what the women are looking for and the women frustrated at a shortage of desirable men. Kind of like telling employees that employers want the opposite of what they really want in order to decrease success rates in labor market matches.

I was assuming that you wanted the market to clear -- gains from trade and all -- and that the dispute was whether men really are misled about what women want.

If thwarting sex is your goal, then there are other ways to do it. Why not lock your daughter in the house? That has to be preferable to an environment in which men have to have their heads filled with lies so that the number of successful matches in the sexual market is reduced.

Mandos: before I click on it, does David Futrelle speak to what men want, and how men can get it? Because I can read any number of things in the MSM, from supermarket shelves to university reading lists, about what women want, and how women can get what they want, and what people think men ought to want. Does he present a masculinist perspective?

rsj: I think you are probably right. But those of us who have daughters might nevertheless be concerned about where it will all lead. And you do see more than one view on that question, even in the comments on CH.

David Futrelle? Absolutely not. It's basically a very caustic critique of the genre from a gender-egalitarian perspective, criticising the essentialist stereotypes of "what men what, and how men can get it", as though men and women were different species, or most of these things were not just a product of patriarchal straight-jacketing.

And yes, I am one of *those* people.

Nick,

From the point of view of the daughter's parent, a better strategy is to teach the nice boy to act tough so your daughter will pick him, rather than standing on your front porch with a shotgun trying to chase the bad boy away.

I can't help but think that there is a belief that the nice boy will stop being nice if they are successful at finding women. Or equivalently, that they are nice because they can't find women, and are therefore powerless. Give them some power, and they will turn into monsters. In which case PUA is ruining the stock of nice boys, turning them into predators, rather than teaching them a skill, like a dance step. If so, this means the parents share the same bias as the daughter, identifying male desirability with aggression at a fundamental level, rather than as a type of display.

Perhaps this is so deeply rooted that we can't see it any other way. If a women has multiple partners, then she must be a slut, and if a man has multiple partners, then he must be dangerous.

Mandos: Then David Futrelle will fail. Because men will want to read people who try to figure out what men want in sex and relationships and try to figure out how men can get what they want.

Sneering at Cosmo, and the women who read Cosmo, doesn't stop women buying and reading Cosmo. At most it just makes them read it furtively and guiltily. The only thing that can defeat Cosmo is a better Cosmo. The only thing that can defeat a PUA blog is a better PUA blog.

Now if David Futrelle ran his own PUA blog, that gave sex and relationship advice for men based on the assumption that gender is all a social construct, that would be an interesting competition to watch. Would he succeed? Would lots of men read him? "Look guys, the way to get laid is to recognise that women are really deep down exactly like you."

(You lost me on that "one of *those* people" bit. I clicked on the link, but still don't know what you meant.)

rsj: I tend to agree. (Though I have read that a better strategy for fathers is to pretend to be pleasant to undesirable boyfriends, but make them look beta in front of the daughter. Though that's maybe easier said than done.)

I think that the root of the problem is related to that post Frances did on the conflict between behavioural economics and welfare economics. How can we identify what's in people's interests if they don't make choices that reflect their interests?

Mandos: Then David Futrelle will fail. Because men will want to read people who try to figure out what men want in sex and relationships and try to figure out how men can get what they want.

That assumes that there is a knowable prior understanding of what people (male or female) want, and the whole PUA edifice isn't merely a huge exercise in confirmation bias and cultural reinforcement among a small group of people that, like many of these things, leeches out via marketing into stereotypes and cultural expectations. This goes back to Frances' "culture" post. The accusation is that the PUA business is (a) not actually helping its followers build more fulfilled lives, via a pseudoscientifically (evpsych) misconceived misdiagnoses and (b) poisoning the cultural well in a manner harmful to women (by, e.g., reinforcing the "memes" that underlie rape culture). Even Frances expresses discomfort with the PUA bloggery...why is that?

By *those* people, I meant that I occasionally write posts for a feminist blog and have definite opinions on the idea that "the only thing that can defeat Cosmo is a better Cosmo", because people desires and incentives exist in a knowable manner exterior to their, well, culture.

because people desires and incentives exist in a knowable manner exterior to their, well, culture.

Just to disambiguate, I'm saying this sarcastically and mean to imply that I *don't* believe that there is a sexual "prior" to "culture", to which cultural products will eventually conform.

Nick: "How can we identify what's in people's interests if they don't make choices that reflect their interests?"

We're wired to get a big charge out of sugar so that we face and bees and get the honey. But in a world where we're surrounded by high-sugar sodas and doughnuts etc 24/7, our desire for sugar has negative consequences for our health.

I would argue the same is true of sex: our brains are wired for a time when people were relatively few and far between, hence opportunities to have a new sexual partner were rare. Exogamy (partnering with someone outside your community) is good because it introduces genetic diversity, so it makes sense that people have evolved to get a huge enormous kick out of having new partner.

Also, sure, it makes sense that our brains are wired to be attracted to people who are at the peak of their reproductive fitness, which is basically what the female DMV test is about.

The PUA culture, it seems to me, is urging men to go out there and get lots of young, hot sexual partners, and degrades other types of female accomplishments (though I did receive a comment via email that pointed out that the PUAs are not threaten by economically successful women, which is good thing).

However the data suggests that multiple short-term relationships isn't what, in the long-run, makes for happiness. The people who are in long-term relationships have the highest level of happiness (yes, there's an endogeneity problem, but I think the results are relatively robust).

Mandos: Most of us think that human male/female differences are x% nature and 100-x% nurture, where x is strictly between 0 and 100, and we argue about how big or small x is. The only people I can imagine who could consistently argue for 100% nurture would be some sort of new world creationists: "That Darwinian stuff might work for lions and monkeys, but God created men and women identical 6,000 years ago, and any apparent differences are just us messing with God's plan."

Frances: OK, but if LTRs are what bring men the most happiness (which could well be right, and I vaguely remember even Roissy saying that might be true, with the right woman), what that suggests is a market for PUA blogs that tell men how to pick up LTRs (and the right women for LTRs) and how to maintain LTRs. And, while I acknowledge that LTRs are not the *main* focus of PUA blogs, there definitely is some attention paid to the subject, and I *think* it is growing over time, as the genre (along with its readers) matures.

Yes, the "Who buys the meal/drink?" bit is sort of ironic. Because one of the themes of modern feminism is that women should be more economically equal, both in rights and responsibilities, which means that feminists should likewise object to women demanding men buy them drinks and meals, and should be pleased if Roissy says that high DMV men and women should do it the other way around. (Though they might think that 50-50 is better in the long run, and that what Roissy is saying is reverse discrimination, which could only be justified on a temporary basis.)

Nick "what that suggests is a market for PUA blogs that tell men how to pick up LTRs (and the right women for LTRs) and how to maintain LTRs"

One of the best things about the PUA genre is that it teaches assertiveness, so it's an antidote to passive-aggressive behaviour, which just vacuums the life and happiness out of human relationships.

Mandos: Most of us think that human male/female differences are x% nature and 100-x% nurture, where x is strictly between 0 and 100, and we argue about how big or small x is. The only people I can imagine who could consistently argue for 100% nurture would be some sort of new world creationists: "That Darwinian stuff might work for lions and monkeys, but God created men and women identical 6,000 years ago, and any apparent differences are just us messing with God's plan."

This is an excluded-middle fallacy that could only be committed in the absence of clear ideas about cognition. There isn't a clear separation of nature and nurture, especially if by nature, you mean "DNA". We do not have a good mapping of any but the coarsest behavioural trades to DNA...or for that matter neural structures in the brain. It could well be the case that the brain only encodes very high-level capacities...and that evolution has endowed us with an enormous amount of plasticity.

There's lots of anthropological evidence to show that many dating/mating practices that are taken for granted in modern society are but culturally contingent. The idea that someone has discovered by...economistic deduction? the *science* of gaining advantage in human interaction, sexual or otherwise, is selling you a bill of goods, and/or appealing to confirmation bias. It's only a shade better than the Neuro-Linguistic Programming business. We simply do not have enough information about the mind, and what we do have suggests that the right model is a sort of structured plasticity, where the structuring is not "incentives" but management of sensory input processing and workload.

I was for a time seduced by "Pinkerist" evolutionary psychology, but realize that it could only be supported if one deploys a form of deductive reasoning that excludes some crucial premises that should not logically be excluded. Instead, the PUA genre makes it harder to deprogram men and communities of the cultural assumptions that make e.g. Steubenville possible.

This is, in a sense, exactly my complaint about Frances' "culture" post.

Here's Berwick and Ahouse's now-classic critique of Pinker that lays out many of the same arguments that can be deployed against what underpins the PUA genre, and in fact the entire functionalist body of thought that attempts to reduce human cognition to the process of responding to incentives.

Mandos: you are simply not right. I hade a longer behavioral evolution post about this yesterday that got eaten in spamfilter.

Generally evolution has a lot to do with how animals and humans behave. You can even tie physical traits of species to sexual behaviour. For instance if you see huge physical differences between males and females in species, like males being larger, stronger etc it is strong indication of the it belonging to so called "trophy species". Here males are selected by females purely for their genes. They cannot expect any help with parenting so it is what they end up with. And males are focused on maintaining dominance and fending off other males. Also since reproduction bears almost no cost for males there is no reason to be picky, especially if their reign may not last for long. For a trophy species male best strategy is to mate with all and every female around indiscriminately.

On the other side you have species where it is sometime outright impossible to differentiate between males and females on sight. These so called pair-bonding species select their partners carefully, as many stay together for the rest of their lives. One of the most important traits females seek is an ability of male to care for progeny - in some species (like with Dayak fruit bat) males go as far as to lactate and nurse thier progeny

So how about humans? "Unfortunatelly" we are quite confused and we occupy the middle between these two types of sexual behaviour. And it can even change in time. But the general pattern stays. So for example as far as I understand PUA sites we define male "alpha" as an individual who has very frequent sex with large amount of females and alpha female as an individual who has ability to pair bond with any male, even some "pair bonding alpha". This is reflected in PUA scores. Males on average tend to select more for physical traits while females are on average are more sensitive to males ability to provide. And the good thing is that all this could be reasonably deducted if scientists would examine human bones.

PS: just to note, the whole alpha and beta vocabulary supposedly comes from how wolves behaviour. Interestingly enough wolves are pair-bonding species and majority of packs are actually families formed around pack's core "alpha" father and "alpha" mother with 2-3 year old offspring.

Mandos: "There isn't a clear separation of nature and nurture, especially if by nature, you mean "DNA"

Actually there is a pretty clear connection between behavior and hereditary traits. And there is even more, just by studying bones scientist can say something about sexual behavior of species. For instance if we see a lot of physical difference between males and females, like males being substantially larger it is very likely that we are observing so called "trophy species". In these species females select males solely based on their genetic traits. Number one responsibility of male is to be strong and cunning enough to fend off competitors. Females cannot expect much in terms of childcare from males. Since mating is almost costless for males the best reproduction strategy is to mate indiscriminately with as many females as possible as long as males reign lasts.

But for some species it can be really hard to see a difference between male and female. Males have to be selected for some other capacity. And true enough, females of these so called pair-bonding species select mostly for males capacity to provide for progeny. For some species like Dayak fruit bat it goes as far as males lactating and nursing their offspring. As you probably deducted, since pair-bonding species stay together for much longer (generally until children mature, sometimes even for life) partner selection is more complicated process ridden with many rituals where males show how capable providers they are.

So where do humans stand? Humans are right in the middle - neither pure trophy species, neither pair-binding we are constantly confused. But even here one can observe some underlying patterns. If PUA blogs talk about male alpha, it is about individual having sex with many females. And if PUA blogs speak about female alpha it is about individual having large selection of potential pair-bonding partners to form relationship. So unsurprisingly men on average tend to select mostly for women physical traits while women on average care more about child-providing capability of men. And funnily enough, this is something scientist could say just observing human bones.

For some reason I cannot post any comment. It does not contain any links or bad words so IDK. Can you look at it?

JV - if something is caught in spam, email me directly and I can fish it out for you. Or break it up into multiple shorter comments. It looks like the length was a trigger for the spam filter here. Do you want me to see if I can find yesterday's behavioural evolution comment?

Actually there is a pretty clear connection between behavior and hereditary traits.

Strongly disagree. The connection is clearer if, e.g., you are looking at species where the "brain" is not much more than a ganglion or three, but even then...it tends to pertain to information processing. Otherwise, there is a great deal of sociobiology/ev-psych selective validation on this subject. For example, the alpha and beta thing re wolves has been recanted by its proponents: in the "wild", the "alpha" male and female are just more often daddy and mommy to the "betas".

So no, it is not at all clear-cut.

I just saw your other post where you deploy the wolves argument in the service of opposite ends.

Actually I followed closely the subject of behavioral evolution (e.g. prof Sapolsky) and there exists pretty convincing evidence that not only our physical traits, but also our behavior has a strong hereditary component. And it is actually much easier to prove it for sexual behaviour. Anyways I would say that observing other animals would give you more explanatory power as for why males pupils dilate, heartbeat quickens and for why they often act like crazy when in presence of young females in short skirts - than for instance perfect knowledge of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.

But if anything there can be actually a good argument made against the PUA site generalization of what is "correct" male and female alpha behaviour. Identifying "attractive" male solely in trophy species categories - such as how many females walked away with his genetic material - could sound weird for pair bonding species. If bull males "want" something different than swan how can we really say that poor swan male did not have such a wonderfull life of sexual promiscuity of a prime bull?

To be honest I also disagree with Nick about identifying PUA with what males "want". I would say that it makes the same sense as observing some powerful men and coming to a conclusion that all of them really "love" to wear suits, tightly buttoned shirt collars, ties and uncomfortable boots. For some men acting like alpha males goes beyond their actual sexual need - it is as much about status and recognition - and there are some pretty ridiculous rules when it comes to that. It goes as far as homosexuals pretending to conform with these rules in order to be successful. So here I agree with Frances, men could actually benefit if general perception of what it means to be successful male shifts somewhat from that obsession with sex.

On reading sites like Heartiste, one find the comments fast sinking to you're a highBMI-anorgasmic-notmale oriented-female mate of a dog or you are a weakly-constituted-not-very-capable vague imitation of a man. The lack of verbal skills is rather surprising considering that women usually highly value such verbal skills...
It seems in fact that thse sites are mostly for a "leader" to find followers whio think themselves equal to the leader.
The usual con of political movement: follow me, you will be as good as you think I am. Follow me and you will be a leader..

I'm closing this comment thread as it's attracting too much spam. Please send me an email privately if you want to add to the discussion, and I'll re-open it temporarily.

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