December 13, 2005

Spanish Girls I

Oddly enough, this post is just for comparison with US girls, but I'll get to the Spanish girls themselves soon. First, I'm 25, and I feel uneasy calling females of my age range "women," as if they already had one foot in the grave. That's one difference with the Spanish (or the French for that matter) -- the females under 50 there prefer being called girls because it emphasizes their youthfulness and femininity. Second, I obviously intend this as a general survey, permitting plenty of exceptions on an absolute level even if not on a percentage-of-the-whole level.

I don't know exactly when it happened, but women of the US on the whole have shifted their mating strategies increasingly toward the short-term. Of all marriages, some 49% end in divorce. People my age on average do not plan to find someone and stay with them for more or less the rest of their life. I won't belabor this too much. What I'd like to point out is one consequence of this -- that women's mate-selection criteria are approaching the limit of a 0-length relationship, namely that of choosing a sperm donor from a catalog.

Imagine yourself in her postion: what do you really want to know about the potential donors? Their height, physical appearance / attractiveness, occupation / status / wealth, IQ / education level, and so on. In other words, you're primarily interested in the aspects that are most influenced by his genetic endowment. The rules of ettiquette, gentlemanly conduct, and so on can be "taught" more than can superior visuo-spatial skills. Even things like fidelity and desire to spend time with children can be compelled from an unwilling man as long as the average woman's criteria make them central, whereas no amount of female emphasis will raise a male's IQ or height during his lifetime.

Sure enough, these strongly heritable traits are the ones US women increasingly rely on. For now, I only mention my own anecdotal data from browsing personals sites both here and abroad, as well as that of other males in my age range and above. (However, in the next post, I'll refer to David Buss' seminal study of global mating preferences, noting differences between the US and Spain.) So I wouldn't want to finely quantify the trend, but I just claim that this is occurring. Sidenote: most people claim that the most important traits to them are touchy-feely things like kindness, warmth, and so on. While true, this doesn't say what their role is in weeding out undesirables. That is, how high must one score on that trait in order to pass through that filter? Must one have the selfless devotion of Mother Teresa to be judged "kind"? No: just as long as you aren't a mean nasty SOB. Must one have the razor-sharp wit of Oscar Wilde to be judged as having a "great sense of humor"? No: so long as you don't stare blankly once told the punchlines of typical jokes. These touchy-feely criteria are there to weed out the worst offenders -- the cruel, the humorless, etc. It's like putting together a sports team: first you cut the flabby and the wimps, then worry later on about finer details like field goal kicking (or good looks in dating).

I have yet to really ask someone out on a date after having returned from Barcelona. Browsing through the various sites, watching popular TV shows on dating, and discussing the issue with others, I have come to the conclusion that -- exceptions aside -- the most likely situation would involve an "interview date" where she would try to size me up much as if she were leafing through a sperm donor catalog. Needless to say, that prospect doesn't exactly excite me -- for one thing, I'm not an ideal donor (only 5'8, not rich nor will be, somewhat introverted). For another thing, even if I were an ideal donor, I'd feel about as great as a large-breasted girl must feel when hooted and hollered at: vaguely flattered but more put off. I want to have fun on a date, not be grilled by her HR rep to see if I'm the male to fill the vacant slot in the corporation of her existence.

Allow me to end with a few examples from the women seeking men section of my local craigslist. (Yes, it may not be totally representative of all women, nor of professional women in all geographical areas, etc. I know: this is just to give an impression.) Title: "5'11 or taller please," in which a self-described "5'6 overweight" woman makes it clear that she doesn't want men who are "5'9 with shoes that make you 5'11 but men who are really that tall." This is almost the entirety of her post. Another: "Calling on Black males under 35 over 6'2." Most posts require something similar but are not so brazen to stick it in the title. Imagine reading through the men seeking women section and noting that most men stated a minimum requirement for breast size or waist-to-hip ratio, with not a few bearing inviting titles like "Double-D Hourglass Latinas wanted" or "No Fat Chicks." You'd think the men were soliciting prostitutes or one-nighters, their verbal disclaimers notwithstanding. Equivalently, I infer that the women are looking for sperm donors rather than stand-up gentlemen in it for the long haul.

Next post: how Spanish girls differ.

2 comments:

  1. jackie the tokeman12/23/05, 12:36 PM

    hey, interesting post, and it conforms with my general impressions of the shifting sociosexual strategies of DC women (i live in the high sexual traffic area of adams morgan). let me add a new angle... having dated a few foreign nationals, including a much younger russian au pair, they bring their instinctual sexual proclivities with them, at least for the first few years they are here. they tend to seek out marriage partners right away and shy from dalliances that might jeopardize their chances at landing the resources of one high-rank male. however, once they are drenched in the dominant local culture (urban hook-ups, high-resource women) and their visa problems are taken care of, they quickly assimilate to the high-divorce, high-hookup paradigm.

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  2. -----
    I don't know exactly when it happened, but women of the US on the whole have shifted their mating strategies increasingly toward the short-term. Of all marriages, some 49% end in divorce. People my age on average do not plan to find someone and stay with them for more or less the rest of their life. I won't belabor this too much. What I'd like to point out is one consequence of this -- that women's mate-selection criteria are approaching the limit of a 0-length relationship, namely that of choosing a sperm donor from a catalog.
    ---------

    I agree that women's mating strategies have shifted. One reason for this must be because females have more sexual choice nowadays than any other time in history (due to contraception, shifting social norms/arrangements, etc...).

    Strangely, long-term mating strategies are still normatively prescribed, at least in many subcultures. Males are still encouraged to court women with behaviors that are part of a long-term mating strategy (e.g. more nurturing, gift-giving, etc.), and females are supposed to want these males, although many of them prefer more exciting, high-status males instead. This leads to a strange hypocrisy: everyone *says* that females want stable long-term mates and relationships, yet these norms are not consistent with how females (or a large subset of females) actually choose mates in the real world. The issue is not always that those females don't want long-term relationships: they may want those relations, but they are just systematically attracted to males who make poor long-term mates.

    - PaleCast

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