To get some hard data on the benefits of being friends with or dating young girls, I looked at three lists of the "worst chick flicks" that I found from a Google search for that phrase (here, here, and here). Because others created these lists, no one can accuse me of only examining movies that favor my hypothesis. They appear to be representative since so many movies show up on all three lists, indicating consensus (indeed, all but one from the Playboy list also show up in the recent 20 Worst list).
I then looked up their ratings on IMDB.com to see if the under-18 female group rated the movie lower than did the pool of all females, and, for greater precision, if they gave the movie the lowest score of all female age groups. I only used movies for which each age group cast about 40 or more votes (for one, under-18s cast 39 votes). That yielded 29 terrible chick flicks, and in the comments I'll post the gory details for each movie.
To summarize, though, for about three-quarters of the movies, under-18 girls rated them below the female average for the movie; and for about half the movies, they gave the movie the lowest rating of all four age groups. Both results are statistically significant (see Appendix below). While IMDB's age groups are rather broad -- under 18, 18 to 29, 30 to 44, and over 44 -- it is reasonable to assume that 18 and 19 year-olds are more like the under-18s than 20-somethings. A limitation of this cross-sectional data is that I can't tell whether these differences reflect maturational differences (like if today's 17 year-olds will eat up maudlin cellu-lard when they are 35), or whether they reflect cohort differences (like if teens today aren't as turned on by sappy culture as are members of previous generations).
Regardless of their source, why do these differences matter? There's a lively conversation over at 2blowhards on guys who chase much younger girls, and a recurring complaint about young girls is their level of culture. Frankly, it's their physical appearance, high energy level, and bubbly personalities that do it for me; I'd rather hear more about Bach's life and works from a scholar than my girlfriend. Still, I consider this a matter open to debate, as I've known too many cultured young girls and too many unrefined 30-somethings to consider the complaints self-evident, or if true, that they are of the magnitude that the complainers imply.
As always, data trump impressions. For instance, maybe an older man thinks young girls are ditzes because they don't feel like opening up to him out of mistrust toward older people -- it's been known to happen -- giving him a biased range of observable behavior. I want to see if older men's (and women's) impressions of the pretty young things are reflected in what these girls are really like when old people aren't looking. The data presented here show that the youngest girls are the least likely to buy into schmaltzy, low-brow estrogen-fests on film -- you can almost hear them groaning "this movie is so gay" and leaving the theater -- and that's to their credit in the dating market: one less type of charmless female bullshit you'll have to endure. Ah, but surely older women are better at getting high-brow movies, right?
In an upcoming post, I'll look at that question in more detail. My impression so far is that under-18 girls are fond of top-rated movies that involve violent male anti-heroes such as A Clockwork Orange and Taxi Driver (!), while they yawn at top-rated movies that are slower paced and more subtle. Apparently, young girls can only appreciate the good stuff if it's of the get-your-blood-pumping type, although there's a corresponding downside in the older woman who can appreciate subtler fare while remaining less moved by action-packed movies or side-splitting comedies. At any rate, the young girl is better at recognizing femi-twaddle when she sees it, for the most part.
So, while Taxi Driver may not be the best date movie, lend a young girl the DVD and see what she thinks of it -- you'll be surprised. And she will look up to you for initiating her into the world of Cool Adult movies.
Result #1: in 21 of the 29 cases (or 72%), under-18 girls rated it below the female average for that movie. Assume that the under-18 average could be above or below the total average with equal probability, and that each movie is rated independently of the others. Then, using a binomial test, the probability of Result #1 = 0.012, which makes our finding significant at the 0.024 level (two-tailed).
Result #2: in 15 of the 29 cases (or 52%), under-18 girls gave the movie the lowest rating of the four age groups. (These 15 cases exclude those where under-18s tied with another group for lowest score, and so if anything, this underestimates their hatred of bad chick flicks). Assume that under-18 girls could occupy any one of the four ranking positions -- i.e., rating it lowest, next to lowest, next to highest, and highest -- with equal probability, and that each movie is rated independently of the others. Then, using a binomial test, the probability of Result #2 = 0.0018, which makes our finding significant at the 0.0036 level (two-tailed).
Here are the data. Title / Yes if under-18s rated it below the female average, and if so by how much / Yes if under-18s rated it lowest of all age groups (number after Tie indicates how many groups split the tie).ReplyDelete
The English Patient
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
You've Got Mail
The Bridges of Madison County
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Fried Green Tomatoes
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Sleepless in Seattle
Bridget Jones' Diary
Thelma & Louise
City of Angels
Pretty in Pink
The Cutting Edge
Legends of the Fall
Message in a Bottle
Autumn in New York
An Officer and a Gentleman
Would the result be that much different if you just looked at chick flicks in general, or a list of the best chick flicks? I suspect younger girls don't like the 'genre' as much as women in their twenties and thirties do.ReplyDelete
Somewhat off topic, but movies suck as date material, especially in the first three months. Remember, when you go to a movie, you are giving up control of her emotional state to someone else.ReplyDelete
And in most theatres the seats seem designed to keep you from touching. Awful.
I don't think you've much experienced the pleasures of conversation with a cultured woman. Having dated three music teachers and a literary translator in the past year, I happen to know something of this.ReplyDelete
I think your problem is that you are approaching the arts from an intellectual perspective, but neglecting it as a sensual pleasure. Sharing a passion with someone is sexy. Furthermore, you wouldn't want to make flirty (or naughty) comments about a piece of art with some old guy expert. Art is a catalyst to conversation. Nor is it as much fun to explore male/female differences in taste with some old guy. Chatting about why men seem to prefer Verdi and women Puccini, for example, is a staple for any date with a musically cultured woman. Remember, art is about fun, however much cultivation it requires. Younger girls, however charming, are just too scattered to have really developed any passion for something in any depth.
I also think your own somewhat nerdy tastes in the arts mislead you, as they don't appear to much overlap with female tastes. Chicks generally don't want to discuss Bach (or Baroque music in general). But get them started on Chopin or Puccini and you are off to the races. Same with poetry; it's Keats not Donne that they love.
Finally, I should say that when discussing the arts with a woman, you don't want to go to much into the technical details. They don't care. They want passion, inspiration, wit, not analysis. You can engage her logical mind from time to time, but do this only very sparingly. Still, you need them to have read some of the same books, listened to the same music, watched the same movies.
In my experience, it is girls 26-30 who offer the best combination of girliness and experience, for this particular kind of thing. They have enough experience on their own to bring something to the conversation, but they are still open to being introduced to new stuff. Arty girls at this age also tend to be rather more unspoiled. They aren't the ones always hitting the clubs.
Michael Blowhard has some thoughts on sexy art chat here. Key quote:ReplyDelete
And let's face it: There are strong reasons why straight men ought to engage with aesthetic matters. One: It's fun and rewarding. Two: Chicks dig guys who show some appreciation for beauty, pleasure, and taste. My theory about this: Chicks feel that the man who demonstrates some knowledge of, receptivity to, and enthusiasm for arty matters is someone who's likely to appreciate the full range of what a woman can be. Art=Woman, sorta.
I agree with this view myself, btw. If you can cook or play music -- even if you can merely discuss movies, books, and paintings articulately -- scoring with the ladies becomes much easier. Scoring in fact follows almost as a matter of course: Some shared arty pleasure ... Some flirtatious-appreciative flirtation / discussion ... Some connecting on aesthetic grounds ... And before you know it you're all tangled up with each other in the most delightful way. In cases like this one, what would be the point of distinguishing the aesthetic from the sexual rewards? It's about giving as well as taking, and it's all terrific.
I would quibble that not all girls respond to this kind of stuff. But especially not the girls who hang out in clubs. Bookstores and libraries seem to be best. (Alas, the internet has pretty much killed the record store.)
I would also point out that young girls love their own kind of crap. It's different crap than the stuff older women love, but it's still crap.ReplyDelete
AE -- I don't know. IMDB seems to be down at the moment. One of the lists of bad chick flicks also has a list of chick flicks guys won't mind, so I could look at that.ReplyDelete
Really, though, my concern is with "can they spot garbage?" I'm less interested in talking about great stuff with her, and more interested in avoiding soul-sucking conversations, since the latter is a more prevalent hazard.
Thursday -- yeah, the last movie date I went on was in 10th grade. It's fun when you're really young, and it's the first time you're alone in the dark together. Plus back then theaters didn't have stadium seating and it was easy to touch her.
Young girls definitely have their own crap, but I find it more tolerable. That's my point: if you only look at the average woman of either age, she has no level of culture, and it's a "choose your poison" situation.
As long as you're looking for an exceptional 30 year-old, why not find an exceptional 20 year-old?
Which brings us to the larger "pleasure of art chat" and making jokes about sex diffs in opera tastes -- something that only art majors suffer from. I'm glad we're having this conversation, since it reveals that what you and Michael are talking about is not some general desire to talk about art and culture, but to really get into art-chat.
No science person is like that (even psychologists), nor is any professional. I doubt most humanities people are that way -- like historians or philosophers.
Here's what it this sounds like to me:
You and a subset of arty people have read evo psych stuff, right? Well, just being able to discuss that with me wouldn't be enough. The girl would have to have really digested the material and have an understanding of the sociology of academia -- that way, she'll get my jokes about how males so rarely think about the "male-male competition" part of sexual selection because male academics have never won a fistfight, and how they always think about the "courtship of females" part of sexual selection, out of wishful thinking regarding their own sexiness.
If I used that example with less stodgy prose, flirty inflection, and some light touching, a female evolutionary anthropologist or psychologist would really respond to it. And she would need to have completed at least a few years of grad school -- so at least 25.
But do you see how provincial this concern of mine would be? You and others couldn't care less -- and you have a casual interest in the field!
Chicks generally don't want to discuss Bach (or Baroque music in general). But get them started on Chopin or Puccini and you are off to the races. Same with poetry; it's Keats not Donne that they love.ReplyDelete
Chopin over Bach, really? I can't say I'm surprised, but since I'm not an art major who requires that high of a level of culture in my girls, I've never thought about it before.
Now, I'm all for indulging the silly tastes of girls, like preferring Madonna over Michael Jackson when it comes to popular dance music, or Mean Girls over the ballsier original Heathers. But because these topics are so mundane, it doesn't matter.
For non-art majors, higher culture doesn't seem as mundane as it must seem to those who live their lives studying it, and we couldn't tolerate girly tastes here so easily. Only art majors can not take art so seriously or intellectually.
I could see a heated debate about a mundane topic, where you're bordering on slapping her out of exasperation, leading to some steamy sex afterwards. But if it were over a more serious topic, we'd probably feel disgust and loss of respect more than anger and tension or frustration -- and that would lead to "I don't think I could sleep with someone who..." type of thoughts.
Re agnostic's point talking flirtily about serious topics other than art. I've actually had some success talking with women about thermodynamics, especially entropy.ReplyDelete
It seems that a lot of people have a very, very base level knowledge of it. It's romantic in a way, as long as I stay away from things lie Boltzman's constant and the math and focus on "things ending, being spread out, nothing lasting forever, energy is everything, blah, blah blah.
BTW, talking about psychology is way better chick bait than art-chat -- hence the appeal of palm-reading, astrology, etc., to girls. It's better than that, though, since if you know the lit, you will have real things to discuss, rather than superstition.ReplyDelete
Again, not the psychology of visual perception or modeling how we acquire our vocabulary, but social psych and personality psych are guaranteed to push a girl's buttons.
As an added bonus of reading on these topics, you'll learn more about how to manipulate -- er, persuade -- others. Which, y'know, may come in handy.
I'll second women's preference for Chopin over Bach. Makes me sad, really...ReplyDelete
Thursday--Your comment is spot on.ReplyDelete
I am an "arty" girl and while I hit the clubs to dance with my friends (I am a dancer and find joy in dancing anywhere), generally you will not find that kind of girl in abundance at the club.
I love to talk about the passion behind art and lit and film and music and philosophy with someone equally as into it as I am.
I find that incredibly sexy in a guy and on a date.
I love Bach though but your right...Chopin hits all the right notes (I know corny but I had to do it).
And I am the most knowledgeable and excited about the arts than I have ever been, now at 29...
And Agnostic--Heathers is a classic, will beat Mean girls any day.
But these movies are targeted towards adults - under 18 girls love, for example, things like Gossip Girl and other similar (book, tv, etc.) series that are aimed at them, and are in their way, awful (young) chick media that is even more materialistic, brainless, & cynical about sex & boys as the stuff enjoyed by their older counterparts.ReplyDelete
But these movies are targeted towards adultsReplyDelete
Ah, but that raises the question -- why aren't awful movies like this targeted at younger girls? Because they don't like it.
Yeah, we know younger girls like stupid stuff too, but not schmaltzy stuff.
Hmm, psych vs. art as chick crack.ReplyDelete
Well, psych definitely has a broader appeal, but, if you find girls who are interested in the arts, which is actually quite a lot of them, art will take you deeper faster. The problem with psych talk is that it is mostly pretty general, whereas if you find a piece of art both she and you like, you have immediately established a very specific shared emotional experience.
(And of course a lot of artists and writers have been pretty good psychologists, which is why art and literature appeal so much to so many women.)
Trust me on this, art is a fantastic hook. I may have some trouble getting first dates during different periods of my life, but I have almost never been refused a second.