June 16, 2007

Teen movies and human nature, part 2

Since my most popular post to date has been a review of Mean Girls, and since I've been meaning to partially review some of the movies in my Netflix queue, why not kill two birds with one stone and write a follow-up? I've been watching more teen movies than I should, but I was pretty clueless about adolescent girl life when I was a teenager myself, and given how important this time of your life is -- the tumultuous, transient state before you reach equilibrium -- the anthropologist in me wants to figure it all out and try to account for it. The guy part I pretty well understand from personal or one-degree-removed experience, though I note below some things that I was oblivious to at the time as well.

1) To get the superficial out of the way first, I've learned that of all the aspects of a female's physical appearance, the one that most honestly signals youthful fertility is tight skin, not just in the face but in general. For those who don't work with teenagers or college students, just remember: what items of clothing does almost every 18-ish girl wear, which disappear by just age 25? Hot pants and mini-skirts, which show off the legs -- not their length (females obsess over being tall later), but rather the tautness of the skin. This is true even if the girl isn't very athletic and so lacks muscular legs; it's mostly a bunch of fat that's nevertheless held tightly together. It looks like an inflated balloon stuffed with Jell-o, which as she ages resembles Saran wrap struggling to conceal porridge. The fatty deposits and lack of large muscles signal femininity, while the tight skin signals youth. After, I'd say, a girl's mid-20s (on average), only one of these becomes possible to maintain -- either a doughier appearance as the skin slackens around the fat, or a tightness achieved by vigorous exercise to burn off the fat and expand the muscle.

As a few examples, consider that three of the four main characters in Mean Girls are 18-22, and the exception (a 26 y.o. Rachel McAdams) opts for the treadmill junkie look to pass as younger. Also, in Never Been Kissed, only one of the main female characters (played by an 18 y.o. Jessica Alba) is of high school age, and she is the only one who wears hot pants consistently throughout the movie. The other three are 24-25 -- decades away from being old hags, but apparently past the point of being able to rock the hot pants. (Comparison here, and two more of Alba here and here.)

To prove that Alba's co-stars weren't always incapable of baring their legs, consider actress Marley Shelton: in the course of digging around for this post, I discovered that she played the red-hot lifeguard in The Sandlot. In case you haven't seen it, watch the famous pool scene here. It's clear that she too once had legs like Alba does in Never Been Kissed, but The Sandlot was made six years earlier, when Shelton was 19. Note that average human generation time is 20-25 years, so 25 does seem a natural point for the female body to begin its descent from maximum hotness, as it expects itself to have snagged a mate and born a child by then.

2) Related to a female's hotness during adolescence is her ability to enter a higher social stratum than that into which she was born. This is a pretty general pattern: guys are more locked into place since if they aren't already smart and/or wealthy, they won't be able to use their looks or charm to marry a smart / wealthy girl, whereas smart / wealthy guys are happy to take a trophy wife who may not be incredibly sharp or rich. Also, when more powerful groups invade and conquer another group, it's typically the native women (the best-looking among them, one assumes) who are absorbed into the conquering group, while native men are hung out to dry. For example, in Brazil about 97% of the male lineages are European (and 3% African), while those of females are fairly evenly split among European, Native, and African (39%, 33%, and 28%, respectively; the studies are listed at the end of Ch. 12 of Human Evolutionary Genetics).

Now, social strata in adolescence aren't distinguished so much by wealth as by popularity. There's a pretty easy way for a currently unpopular, newly arrived high school freshman to catapult herself into the popular peer group of senior jocks and other alpha males: assuming she's pretty, she can just put out. In contrast, it would be impossible for an unpopular freshman guy -- no matter how tall, hunky, and athletic -- to break into the ranks of hot senior cheerleaders.

3) As a result, adolescent females are locked in a much more bitter struggle with each other compared to male-male struggle. A senior cheerleader who's landed a hot popular boyfriend has to constantly chase away would-be trespassers in the three grade levels below her, many of whom would easily put out just to steal her glamorous boyfriend. This puts more pressure on the junior and senior girls to put out, lest their boyfriends leave them for more easily conquered freshman girls. A prediction is that Neuroticism in females will increase, or at least reach its peak, during adolescence, which recent personality trait studies have borne out (see here and here).

Adolescent males don't have to worry about this so much, as they don't really become desirable until they're juniors or seniors anyway. Thus, their would-be competitors -- guys who are 19-20 -- are nowhere to be seen. It's very rare for a high school girl to date a college guy, just because their social circles and daily routines don't overlap, so high school guys with girlfriends are well insulated from competition. Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller has made a similar point, although he went too far in suggesting that 18-23 y.o. girls would date guys in their late 20s or 30s if only there weren't artificial social barriers like socializing adolescents in a bubble (high school). Still, a watered-down version is tenable: if high school and college-aged people were socialized together, high school guys would suffer massively from college guy competition. This doesn't continue infinitely since, again, by about 25 you're clearly past the adolescent-adult threshold (excepting rareties like Jessica Alba or a younger Johnny Depp). And for those who think that being 25 doesn't make you a geezer, read this post to confirm that you are in fact an old fogey.

4) On a related note, though, an even greater effect of increased inter-generational mixing would, I think, be a decrease in caddish behavior among adolescent males. One of the girls I tutor (who just finished 11th grade) is the pretty, popular, cheerleader / athlete type. She's on the touchy side but is really a nice girl. One day before our session began, she had to get something off her chest, to warn me in case she wasn't able to focus very well: her boyfriend (the popular jock type) had been pressuring her to have sex, but she wouldn't budge. So, just one week before her birthday (!), her boyfriend dumps her, explaining that "I'm gonna see what I can get with someone else." I was praying that she wouldn't mention his name, because I would have hunted him down like the dog that he is (fortunately for him, she did not).

Even in a hunter-gatherer society, it doesn't require any brawn to kill someone -- just ballsiness and the element of surprise, such as a pre-dawn raid. And in a culture more advanced than an H-G one, populations are large enough for anonymity to protect an attacker from being found out. In our radical feminist society, though, guys aren't supposed to care about defending girls, since they supposedly can take care of themselves -- yeah right. In any civilized society, a girl's older brothers, cousins, and close male friends would give her cur of a boyfriend an intimidating warning, and failing any change on his part, beat him to within an inch of his life. But add to radical feminism the vast social chasm between adolescents and 25+ adults, and it becomes very difficult for would-be male protectors to stay in touch with who is dishonoring whom, and hence tough to keep the scoundrels in line.

When I casually mentioned around some 14-15 y.o. tutorees that if I ever have daughters, I'll punish their boyfriends should they misbehave, they responded like, "Oh my god, you're so clueless -- a girl would never tell her dad if something was going wrong with her boyfriend." It would seem to follow that any male of her dad's age wouldn't know either. So, it's crucial for brothers, cousins, and male acquaintances in their 20's and 30's to be part of an adolescent girl's social circle, so they can hear the bad news and straighten the offender out. In the present case, though, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of her adolescent male peers, who are too interested in her sexually to play the role of protector. And for the same reason, only the tiny minority of super-hot girls would receive protection (contra the definition of "White Knight Syndrome" above, which falsely states that White Knights try to help "any" girl in trouble, out of chivalry).

Ideally, older brothers and cousins would perform this role, since they are not interested in her sexually due to the incest taboo, as well as having a stronger protective instinct due to kin selection. If they aren't around, then males on the other side of the 25 y.o. age divide could step in, as the potential for mutual sexual attraction is minimal (unless he's Justin Timberlake), and assuming they are close acquaintances, they'll have a strong protective sense due to selection for reciprocal altruism. This is one case where neutral third parties, such as the police, could not be relied upon: cruelly mistreating a girl is not against the law. And that does make this case pretty dangerous, as it's easy to imagine feuds beginning with the male relatives of a girl ganging up on her degenerate boyfriend, whose relatives then retaliate. Still, I think if families were more in touch with what was going on in the community, the cad's family would be far outnumbered and would not be able to strike back, even if they wanted to.

5) Why are guys of any age far more likely to feel hyper-protective about the physical appearance of adolescent girls rather than older females (say, 30+), even if the older females are closely related (blood relative, wife, etc.)? In Mean Girls there is a hilarious scene in which Lindsay Lohan describes what Halloween parties are like for present-day American teenagers. Watch a 20-second clip that sums it up here. (Steve Sailer mooted this topic here, presumably without having seen the movie.) Note the expression of anxiety and helplessness on the father's face; obviously, any father would feel this way if his teenage daughter were going to a party in just lingerie, knee-high boots, and animal ears. (Also note how wimpy the modern American dad has become: if I were him, after I'd recovered from the nine heart attacks I'd had before I hit the floor, I'd lock her in her room until she dressed more tastefully.)

But throughout the movie, the script emphasizes his wife's desperate labors to act young and slutty. For example, she gets gigantic breast implants, wears a form-fitting pink tracksuit, offers her daughter a condom when she walks in on her making out with her boyfriend, and so on. Why doesn't the father weep in disgust at his wife's vulgar behavior? Well, her ship has already started to sink anyway, so why bother salvaging it if there is another intact ship that you see heading toward an iceberg? More to the point, though perhaps less tactfully, it's the same reason that we lock up our precious jewels in an airtight vault, while we leave our spare pennies just lying around in the open -- which ones are potential thieves interested in?

Take the example to the extreme: imagine your daughter was wearing a PVC bondage outfit a la Trinity from The Matrix. Your heart would race with anxiety about how she'd attract the filthy leers of every male in sight, and you'd send her off to boarding school. On the other hand, if your 35-40 y.o. sister were so dressed, you'd give her a calm but incredulous look like, "Who are you kidding, do you really think you can pull that off?" Or, "I just want to keep you from publicly embarrassing yourself." That is, unless she were a rare exception like 30-something Carrie-Anne Moss who played Trinity.

There are surely more lessons, but I've gone on long enough already. I'd just like to conclude this follow-up to the Mean Girls post, in which I griped about how I preferred Heathers, by noting that I've successfully managed to introduce the latter cult classic to some of my tutorees. Over the past several months, I've been tutoring kids for the SAT II Math 2C test, and in reviewing limits, I mentioned one of the final scenes of Mean Girls where Lindsay Lohan answers a limit question in a mathlete competition. The female students always react in a way indicating that this is one of their favorite movies, so I suggested that they watch the earlier Winona Ryder incarnation for comparison. One of my tutorees watched most of it on cable and said she liked it, even if dark humor wasn't her preference. On the last day I tutored her, she brought me a gift: a DVD of Heathers! I'd never received a gift from any student before, let alone one so awesome, so she is now officially the coolest student I've ever had. Now, if only I could get my male students to appreciate Nintendo and Super Nintendo video games, I'll have successfully passed on my generation's greatest cultural contributions.

23 comments:

  1. Well, her ship has already started to sink anyway, so why bother salvaging it if there is another intact ship that you see heading toward an iceberg?

    Sexual jealousy - any man, if he has any feelings at all towards his wife, is going to look askance at her attempts to dress/behave in such a sexually overt way, whether she's 25 or 35. She may be sinking, but she's his ship, his precious jewel, and he doesn't want anyone else putting their dirty hands on her.

    Similarly, with my sister who is in her 30s - I would not be worried about her & my teenage cousin in the same way if they both dressed provoctively because due to her age, I know my sister has accumulated enough common sense not get herself into dangerous situations. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't be worried about the disrespect or worse she might receive from other men due to whatever message they feel she's sending with her style of dressing.

    I don't think men ever stop feeling that kind of concern & protectiveness about women they care about. A woman doesn't have to be attractive or young to be sexually used/disrespected.

    Also, maybe I've been tainted by radical feminism, but unless this guy attempted to physically coerce her into sex, I don't see what business you have hunting him down. Withstanding pressure from males to do things they don't want out of fear of losing them is exactly what girls need to learn how to do on their own, the earlier the better, because it's a situation they're going to face well into their adulthood.

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  2. There's a pretty easy way for a currently unpopular, newly arrived high school freshman to catapult herself into the popular peer group of senior jocks and other alpha males: assuming she's pretty, she can just put out.

    A "pretty easy way?" Any girl who does that will completely destroy her reputation for the rest of her high school career. She'll be the class skank until the day she graduates. Most girls will hate her and most boys will consider her nothing but a big tasty poon tang ripe for the pickin'. She will be unable to rehabilitate her reputation no matter what she does.

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  3. David Alexander6/18/07, 12:06 AM

    I'll be an outlier and say that if an older woman looks good in a slutty clothing, she should be able to wear such clothing, and maybe we should encourage it as a society. If I was 30-something and married, I'd be rather happy if my wife dressed that way, and I couldn't care if other men were looking at her.

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  4. Gotta agree with Peter, Agro. Pretty girls are more popular and less promiscuous, because high status men will wait longer and invest more in valuable females. Chastity is often a signal of high mate value in (female) teenage peer group. It's status currency. (You think they're doing it for Jesus!)

    Your protector instincts seem incredibly misplaced to me. The sooner this guy dumps her the better for the both of them.

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  5. A very good lesson for this girl, as many teenage girls are shockingly ill-informed about the primary motivation of young males. It's a good thing she didn't give in, but keep in mind that doing this more subtly, ie showing how much other women dig you etc, can be an effective scoring strategy. Most girls are pressurized into sex for the first time.

    But again - it was an important learning experience. Girls in the past didn't really have to learn this stuff, as society/family assigned them a husband, invariably much older, at around the age of 15-16, and that was that. In the everybody for himself environment of the modern west girls have to navigate infinetely more complex territory, and here experience matters a whole lot.

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  6. Let me modify what I said about freshmen girls dating senior guys. I conflated two cases: 1) a non-ugly girl who puts out and gains access to hot popular senior guys due to this; and 2) a pretty girl who may or may not put out, and gains access to hot popular senior guys due only to her good looks.

    The main point was just that it's much easier for a girl to move between social strata. I'm sure there is an internal debate in her mind about whether to do so or not, but freshman guys don't have the option at all.

    Re: the a-hole guy who I wanted to punish, this was for two reasons: 1) as retribution for behaving like a cad; and 2) as a deterrent from behaving like a cad in the future toward other girls. Obviously I didn't want them to stay together once he'd already done the damage.

    Such an episode does serve as a jackass-detector, and I said the same things you all did to try to get her to see the good side, but it would be even better not to have jackass behavior in the first place. Guys like that will behave in such a way if they can get away with out, so there just have to be clear negative consequences. And in the Lord of the Flies atmosphere of contemporary American high schools, that's pretty tough since they're so insulated.

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  7. The main point was just that it's much easier for a girl to move between social strata.

    It's easier for a pretty girl or especially at more elite schools, for a girl from a high-status (wealthy, famous, etc.) family to rise to the top. A girl from a high status family by the way, is probably most able to be promiscuous without suffering social damage.

    A non-ugly girl who puts out may have "access" to hot senior guys in that they are willing to have sex with her, but such girls are unlikely to become "The Girlfriend" & become members of the guy's elite social circle. "The Girlfriend" role is what assigns status to the girl & allows her to move up in the pecking order, not the fact that popular guys are willing to do her.

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  8. One of the girls I tutor (who just finished 11th grade) is the pretty, popular, cheerleader / athlete type. She's on the touchy side but is really a nice girl. One day before our session began, she had to get something off her chest, to warn me in case she wasn't able to focus very well: her boyfriend (the popular jock type) had been pressuring her to have sex, but she wouldn't budge. So, just one week before her birthday (!), her boyfriend dumps her, explaining that "I'm gonna see what I can get with someone else." I was praying that she wouldn't mention his name, because I would have hunted him down like the dog that he is (fortunately for him, she did not).

    agnosta, PLEASE. Let's break this down:

    1) Why should the guy stick around with this girl if she isn't having sex?

    2) Your own motivation for "protecting" this girl is because you want to get in her pants yourself via some kind of ladder jump. Would you care so much if she were ugly? Of course not.

    3) Would you really be able to beat up this guy if he were a football player? Probably not.

    4) If you were in this guy's position, with multiple hos for the taking, would you really be quite so solicitous? Again, probably not.

    Let's be real here! Jettison the noble pretensions and admit that -- like the alpha -- what you care about is a pretty face.

    --gc

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  9. I mentioned one of the final scenes of Mean Girls where Lindsay Lohan answers a limit question in a mathlete competition

    This, by the way, is the same level of unreality as Christmas Jones, nuclear physicist.

    Has anyone ever *seen* a Mathletes competition? Jesus Christ.

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  10. I'd just like to conclude this follow-up to the Mean Girls post, in which I griped about how I preferred Heathers

    Nure...we need 100ccs of testosterone, stat!

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  11. 1) Why should the guy stick around with this girl if she isn't having sex?

    The anger wasn't primarily based on leaving vs. staying, although that was part. It was based on how and when he said it ("I'm gonna see what I can get with someone else" a week before her birthday) -- acting remotely civil vs trying to hurt someone.

    Would you care so much if she were ugly? Of course not.

    Don't you tell me how I'd react. There are plenty of plain / ugly girls at my tutoring center or whom I tutor privately. I don't have sisters, so I don't know if the analogy is perfect, but that's the closest I can think of -- you just get protective around them.

    That's the difference between now and when I was in high school -- I could've cared less about plain / ugly girls, and probably would've laughed at them if they were made fun of. But I'm not in high school anymore.

    Now, the plain / ugly girls probably wouldn't get dumped by a boyfriend, as they probably wouldn't have one. But let's say a guy had publicly humiliated her in the cafeteria, even if it wasn't a criminal act -- I'd have the same reaction: smash.

    3) Would you really be able to beat up this guy if he were a football player? Probably not.

    I didn't say beat up. Purely hypothetically, a less athletic assailant would use a blunt weapon or something to compensate. And, I'm smart. A smart person would plan it out, memorize his daily routine, identify a time-frame where he'd be easy to isolate, disguise themselves, and then bang.

    Alternatively, I could've easily amassed a posse to scare him into behaving above a bestial level. Basically, any guy with social conservative values who was strong. Not who I hang out with, but I'd form a temporary coalition if the purpose was right.

    4) If you were in this guy's position, with multiple hos for the taking, would you really be quite so solicitous?

    If I were him, I wouldn't be me. Obviously I would behave just the way he did. But cad behavior is bad, and I'll do what I can to lessen its severity.

    Jettison the noble pretensions and admit that -- like the alpha -- what you care about is a pretty face.

    I won't admit to a falsehood at all. You either haven't been around kids, or have zero empathy (or both). But honestly, how empathetic do you need to be in order to become provoked into ass-kicking mode when some douchebag all but makes a defenseless girl cry.

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  12. Nure...we need 100ccs of testosterone, stat!

    Oh please, Heathers is not a girly movie -- the two protagonists have plenty of balls. Incidentally, I just measured my 2D:4D ratio and got 0.93 on my right hand, although I used a millimeter ruler instead of calipers. Still, this page says the male mean is 0.98, where a lower ratio means more testosterone. And judging from p.3 in this pdf, I'm likely within 1 SD at most of the mean of males *with CAH*.

    Ballsiness and caddishness aren't the same thing; like I said, the hard way that the guy will learn this lesson is when the male friends & relatives of a girl he's dishonored come to lynch his ass. He may think that's unlikely in a large, anonymous metropolis -- but even the transplants who don't have any relatives nearby probably have some 6'4, corn-fed relatives back in Nebraska who'd love to take a trip out to Manhattan to beat him up.

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  13. If I were him, I wouldn't be me.

    Agnostic -- note that I was not positing a hypothetical situation in which you became the same *person* as the ostensible cad. Rather, I was asking whether you think you'd really be as focused on this girl's plight if you were the same guy you are now, except your recent lottery winnings (or whatever) caused a few dozen hot women to intensely pursue you, *without you exerting any effort*.

    Put yourself in his shoes. This girl was lucky to land a baller. She wasn't ready to do what it took to keep him around. With plenty of competition, why should he settle for less?

    The birthday bit is tacked on solely to exaggerate the heinousness of the behavior. Virtually every date is within striking distance of some holiday/occasion -- Valentine's Day, Christmas, the end of school, the big dance, the "3 month anniversary", etc.

    when some douchebag all but makes a defenseless girl cry.

    The Silicon Valley millionaires who've been on both sides of the aisle (as spurned nerd and then as prize catch) recognize this for what it is -- an act. There are few or no "defenseless girls". Women want men with good looks and high status. They'll weep and manipulate to get what they want. The hot ones especially will ruthlessly dump those who show weakness or lose status.

    Guys who buy their self-serving sob stories are acting as the "reserve army of the unemployed", so to speak, driving up female sexual capital and buying power.

    If you ever date an 8 or a 9 -- a girl hot enough to turn heads when she walks in the room -- you will quickly start to agree with me. A girl who is that hot is hit on everywhere by other guys. By doing nothing, she can nevertheless demonstrate to you just how wanted she is.

    For most men, this is a tricky situation. If you want to show her that you too are desired, there is a problem: to attract female attention, you usually have to *actively* do something, e.g. by flirting with other women in front of her. This makes you seem like a "cad". But if you *don't* do anything, then she will inevitably see herself as having higher sexual market value than you, as she will be hit upon constantly (often in front of your face).

    The other (not mutually exclusive) tactic you can take is to simply broadcast an aura of such confidence/disdain/detachment that she is constantly kept struggling to stay in your good graces -- in the parlance of the Mystery Method community, you need to make her constantly qualify herself to you.

    Anyway, this is why I said you need to think about the "cad's" situation. In order to keep (let alone attract) a hot girl, you need to engage in "caddish" behavior or else brand yourself as a loser.

    The third possibility of course is to have such insanely high status that other women actively hit on you in front of your current arm candy. But if you're dating an 8+, most guys aren't at that level -- a guy would have to be like a 9 or 10 (in overall terms, including status) to get hit on as openly/frequently as a girl who's a 7, let alone a 10.

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  14. You make a good point, but do note what the guy actually did: he told her that he would just dump her and "see what he could get with someone else". This is quite outrageous and it certainly does not broadcast confidence or "coolness", which is ultimately the goal of Mystery tactics.

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  15. Put yourself in his shoes.

    I knew what you meant, but it fails persuasively for the same reason as a plea to imagine myself in the shoes of a Black / Hispanic applicant with a 1200 SAT applying to MIT -- I'd hope to hell that they'd overlook my meager score (to them) and indulge in some good ol' AA.

    That is, understanding behavior X is orthogonal to passing judgment on X. Being liberal with cads promotes the law of the jungle, and that's bad, regardless of whether I understand where he's coming from.

    Virtually every date is within striking distance of some holiday/occasion

    Not true unless every occasion counts (you know the 3-month anniv isn't the same as a b-day), or if "striking distance" extends to several weeks/months. I'm clearly talking about holidays where it's expected that couples do romantic things, so that getting dumped then would carry extra sting. So, generously, we have Valentine's Day, the girl's B-day, and the fall and spring school dances. Maybe there's a fifth I'm forgetting.

    Each week leading up to each of these, assuming they are spaced out, accounts for 4 or 5 weeks out of 52 in the year. This ~10% of the year is easy to avoid, assuming the guy has minimal tact and can wait a few weeks.

    There are few or no "defenseless girls".

    Now you're just lying, at least about high schoolers. Adolescent female peer groups are so volatile precisely because no one has your back (girls are not "sisters"), and so most friends are fine with ditching you or standing idly by while someone else destroys you.

    The *Mean Girls* DVD has a feature on this facet of teenage life: your friends are really "frenemies." And again, their male peers would only back them up to get in their pants, which isn't very unconditional. Of course most adolescent girls are defenseless.

    Guys who buy their self-serving sob stories

    You're talking about scheming women your own age, perhaps. I'm not gullible -- in fact, the reason this girl specifically requested to work with me only is that I don't tolerate BS, whereas she feels other teachers are too wimpy / pushovers. I can tell when someone's pulling my leg and when it's real.

    Re: behaving badly to keep a girl, you're talking about lover's quarrels, flirting with another girl in her sight, etc. It's quite another thing to tell a girl to her face, "I'm gonna see what I can get with someone else." Teenage guys aren't as smart / calculating as the Pick-Up Artists -- if the former are acting like douchebags, it's because they really are that way.

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  16. I only have one world for you.

    Eskimo

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  17. agnostic, if you'e gonna rail on cads for behaving in ways that ensure/enhance their desirability to women (ie, through third party flirting, cutting the cord, not waiting for sex, qualifying, etc.) then consistency suggests you should rail on the female version of cads -- that is, those women who rate a 7 or above and reject the majority of suitors out of hand. you know, as a guy, that sex is not the key to happiness for women, but it is for men. so when you hear your student's sob story, try to imagine all the lapdogs, orbiters, LJBFs, and hopeless betas who yearned for her hot bod but got nothing from her but cold indifference.

    if anything, the cad in your story is performing a valuable service by knocking miss teen usa off her pedestal a bit. yet you fell right into her trap of tears. the more alpha females doubt their beauty or feminine allure, the better it is for maintaining a social preference for monogamous unions. too many haughty princesses = refusal to settle = de facto polygyny.

    as anon (gc?) mentioned above, it is easier to call out cads on their status-maximizing self-interested behavior because it is *active*, whereas female status-maximizing behavior is passive. you have to learn to treat female beauty as a proxy for bad behavior. guys who never compliment a girl's beaty are doing the world a favor.

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  18. one more thing. you overemphasize the importance of age differences. 25+ may be old fogey-ish to a 16 year old, but it's funny how quickly that impression evaporates once the girl hits 21. in my circle of friends, all my 30+ year old buddies are banging girls 5-15 years younger than them. and how are they doing this? tight game. something our parents generation didn't have.

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  19. 25+ may be old fogey-ish to a 16 year old, but it's funny how quickly that impression evaporates once the girl hits 21.

    I'll respond to the rest later, but briefly, I agree here. I was just thinking of how old the girl would have to be before lust would cloud my judgment, assuming she were hot, and I came up with 20.

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  20. the more alpha females doubt their beauty or feminine allure, the better it is for maintaining a social preference for monogamous unions.

    That's a nice slogan, but the reality is obviously the opposite. You can Google Henry Harpending's name, along with "cad" and "dad" to find out what correlates in reality with cad vs dad behavior. In reality, cad behavior is antithetic to stable, monogamous long-term unions, and the societies tend to be borderline anarchic. Here, we're in no danger of returning to the jungle, but more civilization is better than less.

    if you'e gonna rail on cads for behaving in ways that ensure/enhance their desirability to women

    Remember, though, that this isn't my purpose. I'm not talking about starting a lover's quarrel, or flirting w/ another girl when it's clear he isn't interested in her but is only trying to provoke a little jealousy. You and gc want everything along the continuum of such behavior to be equal rather than graded, but it's clear that the behavior I described in my post is past any reasonable threshold on that continuum.

    then consistency suggests

    Consistency rarely suggests what someone claims when they use this phrase. If I rail on business owners for employing illegal aliens, hypothetically I should rail on citizens who stand idly by and do nothing even if they know what's going on. But for obvious reasons -- one party is more actively promoting bad things, and time is limited in which to rail on bad things -- I'm not going to say any such thing about the pedestrians.

    You've already said that female caddish behavior is more passive, so that eliminating caddishness is easier when the target is males: just stop what it is they're busy doing. And if you read my review of *Mean Girls*, you'll know that I don't harbor any illusions about adolescent girls behaving like angels -- but most of their awfulness is directed at each other.

    In short, dumping a girl the way this guy did, vs. a hot girl not reciprocating the advances of a loser, are clearly not in the same ballpark.

    I know of plenty of people who've written that a civilized society by definition has low caddishness and tries to decrease whatever there is. But I don't know of any person who's written that a civilized society is characterized by hot girls going on a date / sleeping with any nerd who asks her out.

    This reflects the simple-minded thinking of rich nerds: "if society is civilized, then hot girls will accept my invitations. But they don't, and so society is uncivilized. As long as that's so, I may as well go with the flow and screw over whomever I please in the dating & mating arena."

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  21. You and gc want everything along the continuum of such behavior to be equal rather than graded, but it's clear that the behavior I described in my post is past any reasonable threshold on that continuum.

    No -- to clarify:

    Crossing the line is impregnating a girl and then dumping her. *That's* uncivilized.

    But just breaking her heart? Dumping her a week before her birthday to have sex with someone else? Or even dumping her *on* her birthday after having sex with *her*?

    Doesn't leave a mark.

    There's a *huge* jump between making a girl cry for a few days vs. ruining her entire life. The nature of psychology and reproduction is that it really does tend to be pretty binary.

    The thing is that her memory of this guy is going to be neurologically washed away by the rush of endorphins she gets from the next guy. And if she's pretty, there will be a next guy (or two, or three) panting for the opportunity.

    The impermanence of the situation is one of the many reasons it's not worth getting worked up about. Hot girl didn't put out and got dumped because of it. The situation demands a Nelson laugh, not a vow of vengeance.

    Also -- just as a thought, but wouldn't it be more fun to have an extracurricular job in which you *could* sleep with the people you meet? Being a one-on-one tutor for hot high school babes who you can't touch -- but who confide all their problems in you -- is voluntarily placing yourself in a thankless LJBF situation, even if you don't consciously admit it to yourself.

    Why not hit it with some kindergarten teachers by volunteering at an elementary school? Ideally with some kind of university or professional affiliation, so that Ms. NaughtyAmerica realizes that you've got status and are just doing this out of the kindness of your heart (aka conspicuous compassion). You can get your nurturing kick out of the way while getting a little nurturing in turn.

    Come in as Dr. Science Guy from big-shot university showing the little ones a lovely spectacle, and boom, you're in the kill zone. Sprinkle a little earnest school of Ed BS, and they're putty in your hands.

    Stepping back and analyzing, it pushes all the buttons at the same time: lonely all female place (sex ratio works in your favor), where you come in as the high status outsider (thereby controlling the frame), the highlight of the day and the center of attention, while being all paternal and good with the kids and whatnot. It's almost too easy.

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  22. "This reflects the simple-minded thinking of rich nerds"

    What rich nerds are you talking about? Because the richest of the rich, Bill and Sergey both could do way way better, but chose stability instead.

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  23. Jesus Christ man, the way you lay on this guy for dumping his girlfriend for not sleeping with him goes way overboard.

    At absolute worst it is a very minor offense, but in reality it is entirely appropriate self-interested behavior.

    The guy simply wasn't getting what he wanted and expected out of a relationship, so why the heck should he continue in it? What's the big deal?

    Every partner in a relationship has certain desires and needs they want met - if they feel they aren't getting it, then they each have the right to dump the other and try and find what they want from another.

    I love your blog in general but you are the strangest mixture of hard-headed, unsentimental realism and willingness to face facts with sentimental, old school morality tripe.

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