Economics, recent, Sex

Attraction Inequality and the Dating Economy

Jesus said that the poor would always be with us. Despite the best efforts of philanthropists and redistributionists over the last two millennia, he has been right so far. Every nation in the world has poor and rich, separated by birth and luck and choice. The inequality between rich and poor, and its causes and remedies, are discussed ad nauseam in public policy debates, campaign platforms, and social media screeds.

However, the relentless focus on inequality among politicians is usually quite narrow: they tend to consider inequality only in monetary terms, and to treat “inequality” as basically synonymous with “income inequality.” There are so many other types of inequality that get air time less often or not at all: inequality of talent, height, number of friends, longevity, inner peace, health, charm, gumption, intelligence, and fortitude. And finally, there is a type of inequality that everyone thinks about occasionally and that young single people obsess over almost constantly: inequality of sexual attractiveness.

The economist Robin Hanson has written some fascinating articles that use the cold and inhuman logic economists are famous for to compare inequality of income to inequality of access to sex. If we follow a few steps of his reasoning, we can imagine the world of dating as something like an economy, in which people possess different amounts of attractiveness (the dating economy’s version of dollars) and those with more attractiveness can access more and better romantic experiences (the dating economy’s version of consumer goods). If we think of dating in this way, we can use the analytical tools of economics to reason about romance in the same way we reason about economies.

One of the useful tools that economists use to study inequality is the Gini coefficient. This is simply a number between zero and one that is meant to represent the degree of income inequality in any given nation or group. An egalitarian group in which each individual has the same income would have a Gini coefficient of zero, while an unequal group in which one individual had all the income and the rest had none would have a Gini coefficient close to one. When Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett walks into a room, the Gini coefficient of the room shoots up.

Some enterprising data nerds have taken on the challenge of estimating Gini coefficients for the dating “economy.” Among heterosexuals, this actually means calculating two Gini coefficients: one for men, and one for women. This is because heterosexual men and heterosexual women essentially occupy two distinct “economies” or “worlds,” with men competing only with each other for women and women competing only with each other for men. The Gini coefficient for men collectively is determined by women’s collective preferences, and vice versa. If women all find every man equally attractive, the male dating economy will have a Gini coefficient of zero. If men all find the same one woman attractive and consider all other women unattractive, the female dating economy will have a Gini coefficient close to one. The two coefficients do not directly influence each other at all, and each sex collectively sets the Gini coefficient—that is, the level of inequality—for the other sex.

A data scientist representing the popular dating app “Hinge” reported on the Gini coefficients he had found in his company’s abundant data, treating “likes” as the equivalent of income. He reported that heterosexual females faced a Gini coefficient of 0.324, while heterosexual males faced a much higher Gini coefficient of 0.542. So neither sex has complete equality: in both cases, there are some “wealthy” people with access to more romantic experiences and some “poor” who have access to few or none. But while the situation for women is something like an economy with some poor, some middle class, and some millionaires, the situation for men is closer to a world with a small number of super-billionaires surrounded by huge masses who possess almost nothing. According to the Hinge analyst:

On a list of 149 countries’ Gini indices provided by the CIA World Factbook, this would place the female dating economy as 75th most unequal (average—think Western Europe) and the male dating economy as the 8th most unequal (kleptocracy, apartheid, perpetual civil war—think South Africa).

Quartz reported on this finding, and also cited another article about an experiment with Tinder that claimed that that “the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men.” These studies examined “likes” and “swipes” on Hinge and Tinder, respectively, which are required if there is to be any contact (via messages) between prospective matches.

Another study, reported in Business Insider, found a pattern in messaging on dating apps that is consistent with these findings. Yet another study, run by OkCupid on their huge datasets, found that women rate 80 percent of men as “worse-looking than medium,” and that this 80 percent “below-average” block received replies to messages only about 30 percent of the time or less. By contrast, men rate women as worse-looking than medium only about 50 percent of the time, and this 50 percent below-average block received message replies closer to 40 percent of the time or higher.

If these findings are to be believed, the great majority of women are only willing to communicate romantically with a small minority of men while most men are willing to communicate romantically with most women. The degree of inequality in “likes” and “matches” credibly measures the degree of inequality in attractiveness, and necessarily implies at least that degree of inequality in romantic experiences. It seems hard to avoid a basic conclusion: that the majority of women find the majority of men unattractive and not worth engaging with romantically, while the reverse is not true. Stated in another way, it seems that men collectively create a “dating economy” for women with relatively low inequality, while women collectively create a “dating economy” for men with very high inequality.

Social commentators today are very interested in “gender gaps,” especially the alleged difference in pay between men and women who do the same work. There are other notable gaps, including a “libido gap” that is well-documented in scientific literature (with men desiring sex much more frequently and intensely than women on average) and also an “age gap” in which younger adults are described as more attractive on average, with an especially large age disadvantage for older women. The Gini coefficient gap indicated in these studies is something like a “sexual inequality gap” or “attractiveness distribution gap,” less obvious but potentially even more socially significant than some other better-known gender gaps.

There are no villains in this story. Nobody can or should be blamed for his or her honest preferences, and if women collectively believe that most men are unattractive, what grounds does anyone, male or female, have to argue with them? We may pity the large majority of men who are regarded as unattractive and who have few or no romantic experiences while a small percentage of attractive men have many. Just as much, consider that we live in a monogamous culture, and so the 20 percent of men who are regarded as attractive can only be in committed relationships with at most 20 percent of women. We may just as well pity the rest of the women, who are destined to be in committed relationships, if they pursue a relationship at all, with someone who they regard as unattractive. The only villain in this story is nature, which has molded our preferences so that this tragic mismatch of attraction and availability occurs.

To those who study nature, the various gender gaps in romantic life will not come as a surprise. Evolutionary biologists have seen these types of patterns many times before and can explain each of them. The relative perceived attractiveness of younger women vs. older can be explained by the higher fertility of younger adult women. The libido gap can be explained by the different mating strategies instinctively pursued by the distinct sexes.

As for the different Gini coefficients consistently reported for men and women, they are not consistent with a monogamous social structure in which most people can pair with someone of comparable perceived attractiveness. However, this is not surprising: monogamy is rare in nature. The revealed preference among most women to attempt to engage romantically only with the same small percentage of men who are perceived as attractive is consistent with the social system called “polygyny,” in which a small percentage of males monopolize the mating opportunities with all females, while many other males have no access to mates. Again, this will not come as a surprise to scientists. The evolutionary biologist David P. Barash wrote an article in Psychology Today titled “People Are Polygynous,” citing extensive biological and historical evidence that throughout most of history, our species has practiced “harem polygyny,” a form of polygamy.

There are many animals of all kinds that practice polygyny in one form or another, including many of our primate relatives like gorillas and lemurs. For animals, social structures are not an object of reflection or systematic attempted reform—they just do what their instincts and upbringing dictate. But  it is the destiny of humans to constantly fight against nature. We light fires for warmth, build air conditioners for cooling, invent soap and plumbing and antibiotics and trains and radios in an effort to conquer the constraints of nature. But when we turn on our smartphones built on ingeniously developed transistors that show we can overcome nature’s entropy, we log on to dating apps and enter a world that is built on shadows of the social structures of our primeval savanna ancestors. Technology has not enabled us to escape the brutal social inequalities dictated by our animal natures.

This is not to say that we haven’t tried. The institution of monogamy is itself a “redistributive” type of policy: like capping the income of billionaires, it caps the total allowed romantic partners of the most attractive, so that unattractive people have much better chances to find a partner. The marriages that we read about in historical accounts that are based on prudence and family arrangement make more sense when we realize that basing marriage on mutual attraction leads so many—both men and women—to be unsatisfied with the outcome, since most women find most men unattractive. All of the world’s great religious traditions have extolled chastity as a great virtue and taught that there are higher goals than sexual satisfaction—these teachings add meaning to the otherwise “poor” lives of the majority of people who are regarded as perpetually unattractive.

Even in centuries-old fairy tales like The Frog Prince and Beauty and the Beast, we see our culture’s attempt to come to terms with the paradigm of a woman regarded as attractive pairing with a man who she regards as unattractive. The differing Gini coefficients faced by men and women guarantee that this will be a common—or even the most common—romantic pairing in a monogamous culture. In these fairy tales (depending on which version you read), the beautiful woman first accepts or even loves the hideous man. The sincere love of a woman transforms the unattractive man into something better: more handsome, richer, and royal. Allegorically, these stories are trying to show men and women a way to relate one-on-one even though most women find most men unattractive; they are trying to show that sincerely offered love, and love based on something other than sexual attraction, can transmute ugliness to beauty and make even a relationship with unmatching attractiveness levels successful.

As Western civilization declines or at least frays at the edges, the ways our culture has developed to deal with the gap in the attractiveness distribution are receding and dying. Young people enter the equality-inducing institution of monogamy later and later or not at all, spending more time in a chaotically unequal polygynous dating world. Monogamy itself is weaker, as divorce becomes easier and even married people often report encountering “dead bedrooms” in which one or both spouses feel no obligation to give a partner who they do not regard as sufficiently attractive access to sexual experiences. Religious belief is in constant decline, and with it declines the belief in the dignity of celibacy or the importance of anything other than hedonism (sexual or otherwise). Even fairy tales that for centuries helped us understand how to live charitably with each other are disavowed and cultural tastemakers like Time Magazine and the BBC denigrate them as sexist.

The result of these cultural changes is that the highly unequal social structures of the prehistoric savanna homo sapiens are reasserting themselves, and with them the dissatisfactions of the unattractive “sexually underprivileged” majority are coming back. It is ironic that the progressives who cheer on the decline of religion and the weakening of “outdated” institutions like monogamy are actually acting as the ultimate reactionaries, returning us to the oldest and most barbaric, unequal animal social structures that have ever existed. In this case it is the conservatives who are cheering for the progressive ideal of “sexual income redistribution” through a novel invention: monogamy.

As always, the way forward will be difficult. It may be impossible to revive the religions, behaviors, institutions, and norms that have recently governed the world of love and sex but are in retreat around the world. The future of Western civilization may need brave new institutions and brave new ways for men and women to fruitfully relate to each other. Whatever rules govern the future of dating and sex, they should find a way to deal with the polygynous instincts that our species has historically possessed and that show up in the present day in the statistics of our dating apps, or else be willing to accept the risk of sexual conflict and war that have historically accompanied high inequality. Technologies and institutions and even religions come and go, but the evidence indicates that sexiness inequality is here to stay and that we will ignore it only at our peril.

Bradford Tuckfield is a data scientist in New York.


  1. David says

    Marriage is a Communist Conspiracy! An interesting take on Evolutionary Psychology drivers manifesting themselves on swipe-dating apps. Some things to consider; 1) While the apps are producing data to support such hypotheses, I would imagine that those individuals with less sexual capital are more able than ever to access sex through these apps. The sheer volume of users far exceeds those available for pairing in our immediate communities of the past. 2) The so-called Patriarchy doesn’t seem to be all that effective at safeguarding man’s access to man’s desires. Should the rise of divorce and offsetting of marriage continue to be fuelled by feminism and young women (rightly) exercising their independence, a depreciation of their sexual capital may lead to a deceleration of these trends. 3) Swedish socio-economic liberty and equality has arguable enabled greater sex-variance and thus inequality. How to best reconcile or balance this simple equation? Give people more freedom, they exercise choice more in-line with their evolutionary drivers – social equality enables natural inequality.

      • david of Kirkland says

        @Jose – Technical advances will make this true soon enough for those with money.

    • Johnny the monkey says

      Natural inequality leads to violence. Polygamist societies are more prone to violence and political instability unless they are tightly controlled through authoritarian measures. Monogamy was a great invention for human society as it greatly reduced violence and served as a civilizing force for otherwise aggressive young man. When young men can’t attract mates through conventional means they will turn to other measures. Women may judge men on dating apps based on picture alone which is all they have available to go on but in the real world women judge based on a variety of factors with the ability to provide wealth resources a primary factor ( I suspect other factors such attractiveness personality, etc are simply used by females as predictors for resource provision). Plenty of ugly guys with fat wallets have pretty women hanging off their arms. Young men in inner cities engage in black market activities steeped in violence in pursuit of wealth and status in the hopes of attracting the most desirable females. Feminism has been great for women from an economic perspective though it appears to have brought about our old polygamous drives which may ultimately lead to political chaos. Polygamy has been deemed as bad by feminist but in reality it’s bad for men. Most men are losers in polygamist society’s whereas women have increased choices as the old joke goes would you rather be the third or fourth wife of Brad Pitt or the first wife of joe blow the plumber.

      • Donnerhauser says

        I would argue most men will be losers in most societies, really. Men pursue a high-risk, high-reward strategy, which means that while some will win big, most won’t. Women don’t engage in such a risky strategy even though the rewards are lower. If I recall correctly, most studies find fewer men reproduce than women, some moderately so (2:1), some very high (17:1). While some men do indeed win big, many men can expect a life of not winning well at all.

        Amongst the reasons for this disparate reproduction rate was men getting killed, killing themselves, not winning over a partner, having their partner have someone else’s baby and so on. Guys, in evolutionary terms, do not win as much as women do. This is not women’s fault – they’re just trying to increase their reproductive odds, a perfectly understandable motivation. I can’t really criticise them for it at all. But we should recognise that guys do not have it easy, at least not the way feminists portray it, and in the grand scheme of things, far more men than women will ultimately fail.

        But it’s the only choice we really have, so guys step up to it anyway.

        • Dana says

          I agree. As a mother of two young boys I’m now constantly afraid for them. My gut tells me to do everything I can to help them become strong, confident men willing to love and protect a woman. I was taught by my mom of multiple divorces to not need a man, but I knew this was wrong. I hope more women wake up and learn to appreciate and support men to be the providers and protectors of their family.

          • Craig Willms says

            It is refreshing to read this. My wife of thirty-five years said to me just yesterday when I was teasing her about being ‘in charge’ the real authority and power in our relationship she bristled. “Do you think that;s what I want?” she said. She doesn’t feel the need to dictate, she just want’s to be asked, consulted. We’re a team that has lasted the better part of 4 decades.

      • Kyle says

        Thank you. We have two competing stories running through both liberal and conservative media outlets. The one they like to cover the most is the “hookup culture” moral panic won’t someone think about the children narrative. Where every single woman has no choice but to have anonymous sex with every raging incel she meets on dating apps, for some reason. The other they rarely like to talk about, but occasionally are forced to acknowledge, that sex is actually in decline, in the west and even more so in the east. Both of these can’t be true.

        • Thylacine says

          The “hook-up culture” at colleges is a product of the sex ratio there. When women were relatively scarce (in the 1970s), they could set the terms of relationships, and there tended to be less casual sex. Now that men are relatively scarce, men set the terms, and there tends to be more casual sex.

          • scubajim says

            Great point. It makes a lot of sense. Sounds like a law of economics supply and demand.

  2. Andrea says

    Fascinating. I find it ironic that of all things, evolutionary biology is reinforcing many ancient religious teachings.
    I’ve personally been involved with trying to help parents understand California’s “Healthy Youth Act” which is the comprehensive sex education law. School Districts are fearful of promoting marriage and abstinence as viable options for teens because the ACLU wants hedonistic messages in classrooms and has threatened and sued districts who don’t comply with their narrative and interpretation of the law. This type of instruction certainly won’t help the top 20% of men reach monogamy, and more will ultimately find themselves alone because of it. No amount of “love yourself” rhetoric can stopper the flow of loneliness.

    • Matt says

      I think religions can be thought of as undergoing their own evolutionary process. Ideas that helped communities succeed would propagate and replace ideas that were less effective.

  3. What a terrific article. This is something I half-knew but having it laid out so well has made the whole thing very clear in my mind. Quillette is becoming my go-to site.

    • Yeah Right says

      SMV (Sexual Marketplace Value) has been a cut-and-dried concept in the “red pill” (on gender dynamics) community for a couple decades now. I could walk you through all the horrific consequences of unleashed unmitigated female hypergamy the author hints at in the last few paragraphs… but I won’t. You aren’t ready to hear it. Your still-gynocentric brain wouldn’t hear it the same way the apocryphal natives could not “see” the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

      Nonetheless our hard won success has a society has started to crumble as a direct result of unleashed female hypergamy (i.e. toxic femininity.) This with the aid of law and media.

      Suffice it to say many men these days care less and less about the health and happiness of women. Men have an out-group preference for women, yet female behavior has been so bad lately we are on the verge of it evolving away.

      I am glad I had my fun when I was young, but I would no sooner marry than sign a contract where I brought 90% of the money & 50% of the IP but a notoriously amoral/solipsistic partner could walk at any time with 75% of the money & 85% of the IP. It’s barely even a metaphor.

      We are busy looking out for themselves instead. Many of us are high-achievers. Some are in the Pareto distribution of 20% sleeping with 80% of the women even. it’s been said “you can know women or you can love women.” I know women. Most women are pretty damn amoral/solipsistic where men are concerned.

      This rapidly spreading outlook is, of course, incredibly unhealthy for society & especially for women… but it’s a good safe long-term bet for the men.

      • Pagent says

        I find here at Quillette you can often see Rollo an Co. just over there on the Horizon like gathering clouds but nobody’s quite ready to bring it on board entirely. That having been said the readership here is likely to be amenable to half the teachings. Though, they’re eyes sure are going to hurt some once it happens.

        I’d love for him to contribute an article here, somewhat watered down of course to make the pill go down smoother.

        To follow up on what Yeah says, those men who are awake to the real unvarnished nature of women are currently shooting fish in barrels when it comes to enjoying the company of ladies. You can rail on all you want about higher callings, logical deduction etc., morality, dirty tricks, the unfairness of the sexual marketplace, but once a man understands the cheat codes it’s a free for all. It takes discipline, some reprogramming of your understanding of cultural norms (Which are not there for men’s benefit at this point) and you’re away to the races. It has precious little to do with stacks of cash, it has everything to do with social dominance.
        Our patron saint at Quillette, JBP gets over the target on many occasions but he ultimately cannot bear to look into the abyss, he still has a bit too much reverence for women and isn’t prepared to confront that shadow of our culture.
        The crowd sourcing of infield testing of sociological theories in this domain has produced masses of data and helped to evolve hypotheses into well working models of human behavior. With a high degree of repeatability men can game the systems designed to keep them in check. Of course you won’t find too much academic theory supporting it because its all verboten to go down that rabbit hole. But for men who are breaking out of lonely lives or couples who are re-engineering their relationships from dead bedrooms to vibrant sexy pairings, by being realistic about evo-bio concepts, the source of the research doesn’t matter, only the results matter. Praxeology for the win.

      • Alon says

        Women made a bargain with men a very long time ago. A trade of their excess fertility for men’s excess labor. This was a great deal for them, men who committed became invested in their own families, and the subsequent collective alignment across many cultures became civilization.

        With women now shunning that deal infavor of the pursuit of their hypergamy, or society and civilization will rapidly deteriorate. 80% of men aren’t going to invest on a society that treats them as disposable garbage. They are going to cheer as it burns down.

  4. The article is excellent, though I wonder whether users of swipe-dating apps are representative of the population of interest (in this case, the population as a whole).

    • Tim Jackson says

      My reaction as well. Unlikely that regular app user behavior matches that of people who do not use apps.

      • Lightning Rose says

        Back in the 70’s when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were “personal ads” in the paper. It was considered extremely risky (and desperate!) behavior to call these ads and attempt a “date” with their authors. As in, “how to be raped, murdered and found in a dumpster” with Darwinian probability.

        I cannot possibly therefore imagine the online hookup equivalent represents modern “dating life” any more than the seamy back pages of the Advocate did back then. But whatever.

        • peanut gallery says

          My understanding is that there is a protocol for internet meetups. I can’t speak from personal experience.

      • Lauren Johnson says

        And also whether app user behavior matches off-app user behavior.

        Personally, I swipe on a much narrower group of men than I would actually be happy to talk to if introduced in real life.

        Apps are almost entirely look-based, so I have a higher attractiveness standard than I do when I’m able to glean other characteristics about a person. In other words, my thought process on apps is something like “is this person sufficiently attractive that I’m willing to meet up with him, even though for all I know he could be a murderer”?

        I imagine I’m not alone in this, and this would certainly lead to a higher Gini coefficiency for apps than in the dating world in general.

        • Julia M says

          I agree with you, Lauren. Looks are important, but there are other factors that make a man attractive. I think many women would agree that a funny man who can make them laugh compensates for a lack of a six pack or thinning hair.

        • Alon says

          I pity the real-life man who believes a woman genuinely values him as she flips him into oblivion browsing the pages of tinder.

        • Elle says

          Yep, that was my first thought. These apps aren’t accurate representations of the real world. There is so much that women find attractive about men that is simply not conveyed in a picture.

    • Khorvin says

      I thought the same thing. The people who have no issue finding partners are not the ones using these apps. The article also fails to mention the role that social status plays in female desire for males. The women want the men at the top of the social hierarchy since they possess the most resources.

    • markbul says

      Whether they are a good representative sample or not, it’s not like they are all 9s and 10s in the attractiveness department. The story is that plain looking women think that relatively good looking men aren’t good enough for them.

      • That is true as far as it goes, and a reasonable observation.

        My point, though, is that one cannot (and I mean cannot) generalize to a population based on a convenience sample. There are many many ways to do social science wrong, and that one is near the top of the list.

        • Heike says

          What attracts women is status and dominant personality. Handsome is on the list, but it’s around number 4. Wealth is overrated, there are tons of well-off salesmen and IT workers getting bottle service in clubs who aren’t allowed by women.

          Most important is status. A woman will put aside a LOT for a man with status. Look at Lyle Lovett.

          • John says

            Explain to me you idiot how women can learn someones personality based off a few pictures from tinder?

            Perhaps LOOKS are your PERSONALITY!?
            There was a study that proved more attractive people are assumed to be more intelligent, funny and kinder.

    • Brad Blumenstock says

      I’m not sure how you can credit the “excellence” of the article when it’s premise rests so fundamentally on an unproven assumption (that those who use these apps are representative of the society at large).

    • Thylacine says

      It is well known that women look for different qualities in a man for an affair than in a man for marriage + kids. When looking to have an affair, physical attractiveness is much more important; when looking for a husband, status (meaning wealth or power in our society) is much more important. The best of both worlds is to have a physically attractive child from an affair, while being supported by a reliable, high-status husband.

      • migpt says

        That goes for men too… there are the women we want to have fun with and the women we want to build a family with…

  5. Aylwin says

    An article of two halves. Firstly, that of the inequities in sexual attraction. Much to commend here, but with one big omission. The discussion is based around physical attractiveness. Women might discount physical attractiveness relative to other qualities. We could introduce aspects of character, and of station. Women might value stability, kindness, attitude, as well as wealth and status in a potential partner. The Bernie Ecclestons and Trumps of the world haven’t won attractive, younger, partners due to their looks (nor for their character “qualities” – the trouble with picking examples here is that those kind but strong, thoughtful, not shallow, averagely wealthy and averagely powerful are by definition not in the public eye).

    The second part of the article is just a contrived, contorted, grasping justification for a conservative (and particularly religious) philosophy. The disjoint is obvious, and devoid of argument. Sigh.

    • Aylwin says

      I should have said and article in 3 parts. The middle part being another good discussion, around monogamy vs polygamy – a real problem and tension in humanity.

      The solution is not regressive enforcement via institutional (e.g. religious) guilt. That way lies, as is implied in part of the article, enforced loveless situations when mutual interest is long dead (and replaced with life-destroying antipathy and antagonism).

      • david of Kirkland says

        It’s probably the idea that we’ve mingled marriage to raise families with sexual attraction, and suggesting that a young person be limited for 70 years to a single sex partner is absurd. Death takes a long time these days. It’s no wonder divorce is high (ruining a marriage and family often over added sexual desire elsewhere).

        • Lightning Rose says

          Must sexual desire, if it would wreck family, finances, children’s lives, etc. ALWAYS be acted upon? Too many people act as if we don’t have agency in these matters . . . last I looked, only Vulcans experience Pon Farr! 😉

          • It seems to me these young women are being extremely childish. A relationship solely based on sexual attraction would be just as bad as one with no sexual attraction.

            An intelligent person would want to pair with someone who will still love them when they are sick, someone who will be a good parent, who will be beside them in times of sadness. Somebody whose company you enjoy.

            To choose based on a photograph is juvenile, and as such should be restricted to protect those too immature to make decisions for themselves.

    • A Smith says

      A great point about the aspects of men not captured by a profile pic that often seem to be the qualities by which most attract mates. Another phenomena unexplained by this article is that men whom face such a large physical inequality do not try to compete via beautification as women do. This is not a merely western phenomenon; women taking lengths to increase their perceived physical attractiveness is essentially universal.

      On your second point Aylwin, I think you have quite neglected to consider the evolutionary history of religious philosophy. If religion were mal-adaptive, why did religious philosophies play the singularly largest role in governing human interactions in all societies for all time until the very recent past? There has never been a contacted primitive tribe that did not posess what we would immediately recognize as religion. It perhaps is simply the best invention ever for norm enforcement and a hedge against radical or fast norm change (which can be quite dangerous to a people, ask the french a la the 1780’s). This hedge against overly rapid change is of course, by nature, conservative

      (this defense of religion brought to you by an atheist, btw)

    • Just because a woman thinks you have offsetting advantages does not mean that she doesn’t still consider you physically repulsive. Beware of romanticizing things.

    • Sean says

      “Women might value stability, kindness…” In my experience most young women will only value these attributes if the person comes with status and/or wealth. Stability and kindness are the qualities of nice guys and they aren’t attractive to most young women. As women get older they value these things more.

    • The Ronnie Evil Show says

      I think that was the point-without any other knowledge of the person-women go solely for looks period. Likely there thousands of data points as well to back this up-those apps have millions of people on them.

      Men who are not male models, movie stars, etc, have known this forever. What it shows is they (women) settle for the “character” and/or “station” as you say-but what they want-is the looks.

      It also shows as you point out-that men without the “looks” have to have other things-or forget it. Personally, it shows to me that those apps are a waste for 80% of men-and they should definitely not give them any money at all.

  6. Scott says

    The next time you see INCEL mentioned, curb your instinct to mutter ” fucking losers” under your breath and recall what you just read.

    • Wentworth Horton says

      Maybe, but attractiveness is not a static thing. As “The Frog Prince” and “Beauty and the Beast” point out. I’m not that familiar with INCEL but it seems to be railing against what are just natural tendencies, much like feminists do. Seems like kind kind of a loser thing to do.

      • Scott says

        I suppose my point is that their plight is not imagined nor their own doing

        • Wentworth Horton says

          Our plights may not be imagined, but that also doesn’t mean they are out of our control. There are guys out there who are really unfortunate, truly screwed, and there are those born with a silver spoon. Then there the vast majority of us who fall somewhere in the middle, we have something to work with, and in these times of toxic femininity more than we give ourselves credit for. What these groups do, INCEL, the intersectional coalition, is offer victim status and the blame of others. It’s a form of laziness and self slavery. You’re right, calling them “fuckin losers” is wrong but pointing out that they need to think more positively about themselves is not.

          • hoop says

            The incels that people are aware of are fucking losers though, and the word has shifted to refer only to those people. Incel means “involuntarily celibate,” which would refer to a person who has never had an opportunity to have sex. I’m sure there are plenty of people like that, and it is unfortunate to the say the least. I hate that the word has become an insult, and I find it pretty ironic that the left, the alleged champions of body positivity and sexual freedom, are using a word that is supposed to mean “too ugly to have sex” as an insult.

            The incels that we’re aware of are the ones who go on their subreddit and call all women whores and pretend that Elliot Rogers is some kind of hero. These are the fucking losers. As with most things, because they are the most vocal, they will garner the most attention.

            I feel for the real incels, because they experience the issues this article describes to the Nth degree.

    • Ted Talks says

      My theory is the irrational hatred for incels by progressives is due to the fact that incels pose a serious problem to the progressive infatuation with equality.

      If the goal is equality, if the arc of history bends towards justice, then something has to be done to ensure incels have equitable access to sex. To argue otherwise is non-progressive on its face.

      Progressives cant stomach such a modest proposal.

      • Paul says

        Not completely true– the small group of people openly promoting the legalization of sex work are almost universally progressive. I can think of no other policy closer to “equal access to sex”.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Everyone who talks about incels and susch like seems to be working on the premise that all women are wonderfully attractive and are therefore rejecting ugly men.
      The thruth is that there are just as many unaattractive women as men. They can pair off with each other. These incel losers seem to reject that idea and believe that beautiful women should be theirs by right.

      • While it is true that 50% of all people are below average in attractiveness, the article above pointed out that on the tested app the 50% of women regarded as below average still received 40% of contacts.

        Meanwhile women judged 80% of men as below average, which is a statistical impossibility. It would also imply that a significant portion of the women deemed “below average” still had strong preferences towards men in the top 20%. A 7/10 man being brushed off by a 5/10 woman because she has her eyes on the 8/10 is going to rankle.

        A friend observed that for many women their estimation of their attractiveness tends to revolve around the most attractive man they’ve slept with, forgetting that pretty much any woman can get a man into bed. Getting a commitment isn’t so easy.

      • Ted Talks says

        Ugly women still have a much higher sexual market value than ugly men. There is no pairing off to be had.

      • Dave says

        No, the article explains how there are far more unattractive men than women. The top 80% of women compete for the top 20% of men, the middle 60% of men compete for the bottom 20% of women, and the bottom 20% of men compete for nothing — even pustulent, morbidly obese old hags won’t touch them.

        Under the old system of strictly enforced lifelong monogamy, a 50th-percentile woman had to marry a 50th-percentile man or check into a nunnery and die a virgin.

        Contra Marx, sexual inequality is far worse than economic inequality. Poverty doesn’t feel so bad when you have pu**y. History’s most successful societies had price controls and rationing of women, so that any man of sound mind and body could have a wife, and free markets in everything else.

        • Further – the sexual marketplace differs from the economic marketplace in one important way – in a free, capitalistic economic marketplace, economic growth is an inevitable result, causing prosperity and wealth creation to spill over for great masses of individuals lower on the economic competence totem pole, if you will. A laissez-faire sexual marketplace, on the other hand, creates no such widespread abundance; as it will result in an increasingly smaller and smaller male breeding cohort servicing a fixed number of females; if anything, males in the bottom 80-90% will experience increasing “poverty”.

  7. @Aylwin

    Your description of the “second part of the article” is unrecognizable to anyone who has read it.

  8. Pingback: “While the situation for women is something like an economy (sex access) with some poor, some middle class, and some millionaires, the situation for men is closer to a world with a small number of super-billionaires surrounded by huge masses who pos

  9. andrewilliamson says

    This reads throughout like someone groping around in the dark, not understanding how homo sapiens’ sexual preferences and behaviors evolved, and speculating without understanding.

    Read Buss’s “The Evolution of Desire” and most of this can be cleared up.

    • Phil Major says

      Any chance you can offer what you take to be the tl;dr?

  10. This is hardly a new observation.

    Men’s rating of women’s attractiveness is based on appearance of health and fertitlity. Women’s rating is based on ability to provide and protect something that changes with time and paticularily wealth. This aspect of women is not captured by the apps.

    If there is an issue it is that the state has to a large extent taken over the providing and protection responsibilities of men undermining the ability of poorer men to be attractive and maintain a long term relationship.

    • Wentworth Horton says

      It’s not all one way. Otherwise there would be no definition for the physical in the case of women to men and no definition of devotion or romance in the case of men to women. Devotion and romance is a strong third ingredient where both meet. As for the states roll, that’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing.

    • idoit says

      No it’s not incel. This is a fantasy you have about evolutionary pyschology. Women will fuck me at risk to their entire life.

  11. cacambo says

    Good points Aylwin. Before we start waxing all nostalgic for traditional monogamy, we should at least acknowledge that marriage was not always a fairy tale for women. There were typically other ways of dealing with the problem of polygyny. As the author points out, traditional societies often saw women as resources to be distributed, and who were then considered property possessed by their husbands without any rights of their own. While it’s pretty to think that these arrangements were conducive to personal growth–frogs turning into princes and all that–I would imagine that the reality was probably pretty crappy for the women involved. This is not to say that the author fails to make some interesting points, it’s just that one’s argument is strengthened when possible objections are taken into account.

    • @ cacambo

      Please elaborate on where and when these “tradional societies”, that treated women as “property possessed ” are / or used to be?

  12. ... says

    For a moment I felt like lurking the MGTOWs, then I realized that it was Quillette …

    • Indeed–they do have some tremendous insights over there.

  13. Agreed with Aylwin. We have to acknowledge that data from hook-up apps will necessarily be limited and skewed. Swipes are cheap – free in fact. These are single folks who haven’t paid a cost or dealt with the reality of the other person yet – so idealistic hopes and looks presumably fill in the vacuum. (That said, I met my wife on Tinder.)

    Some clear non-sequiturs and just-so stories toward the end.

    • Jose says

      Since likes are free as you put it, I agree with that sentiment by the way, why wouldn’t women freely give them away to every male and the same with men towards women? Likes mean you’ve passed a first filter of at least being physically attractive to the other person. You have earned starting a conversation with the other person. It is something that can be easily given and removed but it is not nothing.

    • Johnny the monkey says

      A better real world example would be marriage data and income. Marriage is in steep decline among the working class/middle class but stable/rising among the upper middle class in this country. Working class men have been dealt a major blow from the decline of the manufacturing industry with many seeing their income drop whereas working class women have seen some gains as the economy tends to favor the jobs they prefer to fulfill such as health care or service industry. In other words when men are not able to make income that exceeds that of their partners the marriage rate falls. So in essence a real world example similiar to what occurs on dating apps.

      • Lert345 says

        Marriage rates might fall but reproduction does not. Somehow men who aren’t good enough to marry are still good enough to reproduce with. The assumption that it must be just the men who are lacking, is an assumption only. The women are probably just as unmarriagable.

        • Birth rates in all 1st world countries have also dramatically decreased. It is true that the lowest income levels do reproduce at the highest rates and the fact that they also tend to be out of wedlock also tends to support your hypothesis, however, if we take into account that welfare and food stamps etc have greatly reduced the hardships once associated with single motherhood, there may actually be a benefit for this class not to marry. So reproduction may be their only criteria. In the middle class and upper classes though, birth rates are down dramatically.

    • Screwtape says

      Nice. I met your wife on tinder too. Not my type but good enough for a roll. Glad she worked out for ya.

      Tinder swipes are cheap but thats part of the draw as well; a simplistic measure of sexual desireability.

      The full measure of female to male attraction is, of course, more complex, contextual, and circumstantial.

      But if a big chunk of the moden sexual market is funneling thru apps like tinder, then the implications carry more weight than a mere swipe.

      Eg if the gateway to complex attraction is constrained by a culture that favors behavioral and psychological reinforcement of simplistic (superficial physical only) attraction then all those nice guys will just have to wait.

      The illusion of infinite optionality, the delusion of female sexual market value inflation, and the perceived “settling” or holding out that happens when the logical numerical outcome of the 80/20 plays out are also downstream issues that will need a reckoning. Hence poly. Hence ‘man up and marry that slut’ shaming of men. Hence delayed marriage, delayed and more costly family formation, and the destabilizing affects of prolonged sexual activity with mates that are not assortively matched.

      But everyone knows someone who met on Tinder so its all good and normal. God help us.

  14. Eurocrat says

    We could conclude that looks are less important to women, thus you must be exceptionally good-looking to catch their eye. In other words, either become rich or develop the ability to make them laugh. I suggest the second option, as it is not something you can lose.

    • Saw file says

      I have to agree.
      Even making decent money and being ‘good looking’, my oddball humour is what has served me best.
      It’s also a great disqualifier.
      If you don’ ‘get it’, you probably never will and even if we do click at some level, I know that I will quickly become bored with the company.

  15. Mike says

    This article is fantastic. Like the best Quillette articles, it addresses an extremely important yet overlooked social phenomenon, and does so with elegance and brute honesty. I especially appreciate the implications of moral hypocrisy on the contemporary left, and with regard to feminism in particular. Feminism is defended as being about “equality,” yet clearly the sexual empowerment of women that it fosters results in greater inequality for men, and for women as well to the degree that having a single monogamous partner is considered desirable, which if one is to judge by the words women put into their dating profiles, is high.

    My experience in the contemporary dating market suggests a significant degree of cognitive dissonance on the part of women with respect to their biologically-endowed (and competing) sexual objectives: a man who possesses high mating value, and a man who is faithful, loyal, and monogamous. It’s rare to see a woman’s dating profile that doesn’t express some explicit desire for finding a “soulmate,” “my last date,” someone who “doesn’t play games,” etc. Yet the sorts of men who might fulfill this role are rejected wholesale because they do not present a high enough sexual value–not handsome enough, tall enough, or successful enough. Hence the majority of women in today’s (urban) sexual marketplace end up spinning their wheels, chasing perpetually after men who will never commit to them.

    I am not condemning these women; they are attempting what seems an optimal sexual strategy: to “capture” a higher sexual status male. It is the present-day sexual marketplace produces this result, rather than the women themselves. And to the extent that such women can live with that cognitive dissonance (and accept remaining single) they can enjoy experiences that would have been denied them under a monogamy structure, in which they would be perpetually “stuck” with a stable, faithful, but relatively unexciting man.

    I have tried to coach my female friends along such lines, encouraging them to give the less exciting and attractive guys a chance, but they seem condemned to reject the ones that might be good boyfriends, claiming that they just weren’t attractive enough, or that they just didn’t feel a “spark.” It’s as though their expectations have been raised, through previous sexual experiences, in a non-reversible way. They would rather just be alone than date men that don’t allow them to experience some hope, however unrealistic, of achieving the ultimate mating apotheosis.

    The man, then, is left with only one reasonable strategy: date lower value females (the ones who will have you) according to a “player” model. Obviously the rewards of this strategy depend greatly on one’s own sexual market value. The closer one is to the top, the greater one’s ability to live the life of a Turkish sultan. Halfway down the sexual hierarchy the rewards more or less flatline. But there’s cognitive (or emotional) dissonance here too. Even high value men might prefer to exclusively date a partner with commensurate value, if only for logistical reasons, not to mention the emotional rewards. But sadly, chasing after such a woman is simply not an optimal strategy, nor is pledging monogamous fealty to a woman of lower sexual mating value optimal, when one can have several. Men, no less than women, are inclined to optimize their sexual strategy.

    • Ghatanathoah says

      The problem with the strategies you suggest is that they are mistaking two marketplaces for one.I think your female friends may be making a similar mistake. The “sexual marketplace” and the “dating marketplace” are not the same marketplace, and the strategies that work for one won’t work the other.

      The sexual marketplace is about who you want to bone. If you want to have casual sex with attractive people, then it makes sense to make yourself attractive so that they will reciprocate. And it might sometimes make sense to avoid sex with a moderately attractive person if you think that you might be able to find a very attractive person with a bit more work.

      The dating marketplace is not about who you want to bone. It is about who you want to share your time, and possibly your whole life with. It is about finding your best friend. It is about finding your match; someone whose personality is compatible enough with yours that you’d enjoy it if they were the person you spent most of your free time with. Sexual attractive plays some part in it, but not a terribly large one. It’s not a market negotiation, it’s a jigsaw puzzle.

      Whether or not standards of sexual attractiveness are universal in humans is a hotly debated topic, but enough people share the same standards that it makes sense to talk about “high-value” and “low-value” men and women in a sexual marketplace. The same is not true for dating. What personalities are compatible is highly subjective and varies from person to person. There are a few near universal standards of date-ability (i.e. “is not a serial killer”), but it’s impossible for someone to be “high” or “low value” in the dating scene.

      If the women you know are attempting to find date-able men using the partner selection standards of the sexual marketplace, they are likely to fail. They are different standards for different roles. There is no guarantee a man who meets one will meet the other. It might be helpful if you reframe your advice to them, however. They shouldn’t be giving “less exciting and attractive” guys a chance, they should be seeing if those guys are more exciting and attractive by the standards of dating.

  16. David Morley says

    Presumably the women who pursue men who are more attractive than themselves (out of their league, as we say) are still deeply disappointed to find themselves treated as a throwaway item, or bit on the side. And perhaps go on to conclude, rather unfairly, “that all men are bastards”.

    • ga gamba says

      It will depend on what the woman is seeking and how realistic she is assessing herself.

      There are women who are content, even happy, to partake in less formalised occasional relationships that will lead to nothing enduring, for example friends with benefits and simple hook ups. Some of these women are already in formal partnerships with other men. Would these be women treating their fuck buddies as a “bit on the side” as well? Of course it would be.

      I have no objection to people doing such things provided they are forthright and both have accepted it. It would be wrong for a person to dangle out the lure of something wanted by others, a monogamous relationship for example, when it’s not in the cards.

      • “It would be wrong for a person to dangle out the lure of something wanted by others, a monogamous relationship for example, when it’s not in the cards.”

        Ah, the ultimate male crime, to the feminists.
        Can you understand why a man may dangle the prospect of a long-term monogamous relationship, when he really has no intention of one? It’s not hard.
        Because of the changes in the sexual marketplace over the last 60 years or so, as illustrated so well in this essay, a great body of average to above-average men have been utterly disenfranchised from having sex lives in our still-evolving culture of soft polygamy, with masses of women chasing after the 10% of men who are most physically attractive.

        Assortive mating died, in case you didn’t notice.

        A healthy, average to above average man, infused with the testosterone that God have him, even one who applies and improves himself, who seeks a sex life, has unappetizing options available.
        A. He can deceitfully purport to desire a monogamous long-term relationship so as to get sex from women he is attracted to.
        B. He can honestly communicate that he has no desire for a monogamous long-term relationship and pursue casual relationships. Average women will have no interest in this with him, as they can easily have casual sexual relationships with top-tier men. If he does this, he will only be able to have sex with obese women. Women who “are content, even happy, to partake in less formalised occasional relationships that will lead to nothing enduring, for example friends with benefits and simple hook ups”, in your words, will only do so with men more physically attractive than they are. In casual relationships, women mate upward, and men downward in attractiveness hierarchies. Assortive “hookups” are not terribly common.
        C. He can get sex through entering into a monogamous long-term relationship. And run the very real risk of getting locked in with a partner who has had her pair-bonding abilities completely compromised by her memories of previous relationships with more physically attractive men (google the “alpha widow” phenomenon if you must), and who will soon either deny him sex or provide rationed-out starfish relations.
        D. He can pay for it.

        Hence, the relentless increasing popularity of option A.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @David Morley

      Hi David!

      … Or rapists! How does a girl reclaim her sense of her value after she’s basically thrown herself away and been thrown away in turn? Easy, she did not throw herself away, she was raped. And, since hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, once she has been thrown away, her knives come out. But, we know that women never make false accusations, don’t we?

    • Alon says

      I was wondering if i was going to see a link to l in these comments.

  17. David Kim says

    There are many advantages to being an older man, because sex drive is lower and there are more available women. A young man may have to bust his ass to get selected, and may have to endure many rejections, but that’s just the way it is. Young women look to the dominant males in music and movies, the pagan attraction to the prince and the bad boy. Young women are highly valued, older women not so much, by men, because men first see just the physical attractiveness. That’s all they see, I know as a young man I was obsessed and in my teens sex was a complete obsession. “A slave to my dick,” is the crude way of saying it. I envied those guys who seemed to know girls without effort, like my cousins. I thought I was undesirable, years later found out that many girls actually liked me, but thought I was a snob. Ironic. Women look at financial status and personality, and confidence. Walk with confidence, and a good sense of humor.

    • Garfield says

      “There are many advantages to being an older man, because sex drive is lower and there are more available women”

      You’re delusional.
      Older women still want the handsome guy who’s old, not the balding guy.
      The only time and older man can get a woman is when she’s finished slitting around and is ready to “settle down’ with some.

      Basically you’ll be financially providing for her and ensuring she has a kid.

  18. Etiamsi omnes says

    Women are fiercely competitive when it comes to attracting suitable partners. For instance, i is a widely known that women don’t dress and make themselves up for men: women dress AGAINST other women. Take an average-looking guy, one who would hardly be noticed by 80% of women. Place this guy in front of cameras or feature him in glossy magazines: women will fight over him.

    • Heike says

      That’s the effect of status. Women see that other women want a man (obviously otherwise he wouldn’t be in the magazine) and very sensibly assume that he’s worthwhile. It’s the principle of social proof.

  19. Do not generalize from data taken in the United States. It is common knowledge, among those who have had the fortune to live abroad, that American women are particularly picky and place an inordinate amount of priority on a man’s physical appearance. They are also quite unfeminine (if you want to convince yourself of this, by comparison, take a stroll down any street in Warsaw of Moscow or any city in that part of the world where rabid feminism has not yet taken hold. Moreover, women there still do want to get married).

    Men in the US and UK are perhaps the unluckiest of all. Feminism has made women uglier, and both men and women more miserable.

    • Ghatanathoah says


      It’s unfortunate that being more feminine makes women more likely to want to get married, because it also makes them less likely to be marriage material. Feminine women are boring, for the obvious reason that they have less in common with men. This means there is less they will want to talk about and less they will want to do together.

      I am often astonished when I watch movies and TV shows set in the Fifties, because at parties husbands and wives split up into different conversation groups! The wives all talk to each other in one room, and the husbands all talk in another! Why are they married if they have so little in common that they need to split up to find good conversation? At all the gatherings I attend the men and women all talk together.

      This is one of feminism’s great achievements. Encouraging men to be less masculine and women to be less feminine means that they have more to talk about with each other. They have more hobbies and activities in common.

      “Feminine women” might sound good to you at first, but really think about it. Do you really want to have to wait forever for a woman to put on makeup every time you go out? Do you really want to date someone who won’t go to see gruesome horror movies, or action movies with lots of explosions? For all it’s excesses, I know I’m lucky to live in a post-feminist world. Men in the Fifties must have been bored out of their skulls!

      • Roy says

        This is feminist propaganda being regurgitated.

        Having a wife and kids is many times better than the single life for most men and women who are not at the top of the SMV marketplace.

        Hence the reason monogamous societies and cultures have prospered while polygnous societies are in constant strife and cousin marriage (ie inbreeding) is common and encouraged.

        Simply compare any strict muslim society to any strict monogamous society.

        Boilerplate feminist propaganda: she’s bored so fuck everybody and definitely fuck the future and a ‘boring family’.

        • Ghatanathoah says


          You are absolutely right that having a wife and kids is better than the single life for most people. One of the main reasons for this is the destruction of traditional gender roles by feminism.

          In the past, it was considered unwomanly for women to have the same interests as men, and unmanly for men to show interest in feminine things. That meant that men and women had very little in common and limited the activities they could do together. Not a recipe for a good marriage. Feminism fixed this by expanding what it was socially acceptable for men and women to be interested in.

          Another way feminism has improved marriage is that it allows women to seek status for themselves through work and other means. Previously, the only way for a woman to have high status was to be married to a high-status husband. This created an incentive for women to nag their husbands to seek status more than the husbands often really wanted to.

          It’s ironic that traditionalist conservatives claim to promote marriage, but also promote values and behaviors that make marriage unenjoyable.

          I’m not sure what one’s SMV value has to do with marriage. Sexual attractiveness and marriageability are not the same thing at all. There are lots of people who would enjoy having sex with each other, but would hate living together for years.

          • Heike says

            Where’d the assumption come from that women want to do men’s things? The only women who want to do so are the tiny minority who in this day and age still have the courage to call themselves feminists.

            Women and men don’t have to be romantically in love for their entire lives. Another lie which Hollywood gave us.

      • @Ghatanathoa I really do love feminine women. I’m old enough to know this for sure. Period.

        And, again, you’re generalizing from US-only data.

  20. Defenstrator says

    Actually there is a villain in this story and it is woman, at least according to social constructionists. If there are no sex related differences women are rejecting men out of selfishness. We obviously need to legislate women into dating regular guys in order to rectify this social I’ll.

  21. David Morley says

    A question: when women choose to “like” a man in the top few %, do they see him as out of their league really, or do they perceive him to be a match? In other words are they overestimating their own relative attractiveness. Or do they think he will see something in them that others have failed to see (a standard chick lit theme).

    I suspect that if told that their husband was as good as they could expect to get given their own level of attractiveness, some women would feel profoundly insulted. Let alone being told they were lucky to have him!

    • Massimo Maraziti says

      “Evolutive” psicology means that the ultimate aim is reproduction. For men the strategy is elementary: impregnate as many women as you can, attractive, but also less attractive. For womes is more complex: they aim at the top 20% men hoping that they will generate sons who will also be parte of the top 20% of their generation, and therefore reproduce successfully. A successful reproductive strategy must go beyond the first generation. Generate daughters would be more sensible, but wome don’t have that choice.

    • Ghatanathoah says

      @David Morley

      They’d be insulted alright, but not for the reason you seem to think. They’d be insulted on their husband’s behalf at the suggestion that he’s so pathetically shallow that “level of attractiveness” was the reason he chose to marry her. And they’d be quite right to do so. I’d certainly be insulted if anyone implied that about me.

      When it comes to marriage, it’s not possible for a man to be in “the top few %,” because what makes a man marriage material is intensely subjective and varies from woman to woman. There are some near-universal standards of physical attractiveness in society, but there are not many near-universal standards of marriageability (besides a few basic things like “isn’t a violent felon”).

      To name a few examples: Does he like cats, dogs, or rabbits? What are his tastes in music and movies? How many kids does he want? What kind of food does he like? Will he run a 5k with me? Does he like to travel on vacation or relax at home? What is his philosophy of life?

      None of the answers to these questions are anywhere near universal. Some women would love it if a man wanted to run a 5k with them, other women would be angry if a man wanted her to run a 5k with him. Some women like horror movies, some like action, some like comedy. Women vary in their philosophy of life.

      I expect that the marriages where physical attractiveness was the main consideration constitute the 50% of marriages that end in divorce.

  22. Don says

    What an awesome article in the age of politically correct fake settled science. In several landmark studies, it has been found that among married couples the physical attractiveness of the genders is highly correlated. Thus, the trophy wife of a rich homely guy is not very common. This means that women prize good looks just like men. Perhaps the reasons are different but the outcome is the same.

    As a devout secular guy, I’ve watched as so many of the negative characteristics I blamed on religion became the characteristics of the modern secularist. Virtue signaling among progressives make the old religious virtue signaling look like child’s play. The modern progressive movement has become far more puritanical than most religions with even an end of the world belief in climate apocalypse. Secularists could learn a great deal from old fashioned religious rules in how to make a just and stable society.

  23. I’m not familiar with dating apps but I wonder; if there were some way to accurately associate the counter-parties’ actual or potential wealth or earnings with their photographs how the responses would change. Immediate gratification versus long term security is what separates socially sentient primates from the insentient.

    That might suggest an explanation for the longstanding popularity of monogamy and marriage based on pair bonding and arranged marriages.

  24. Sean says

    My personal feeling is that the main reason women only select 20% of men is that women put more value on character traits as well as wealth and status. These 20% of men may be very good looking or their picture may indicate they are exciting or wealthy such as pics of them on motorbikes or on a big yacht.

    Men are much more visual and less interested in character at least as far as being initially attracted.

    As far as incels go, my theory is that they lack the confidence and boldness that women are attracted to. The are often shy and insecure. They seem to believe that if they are nice or gentlemanly women will like them but it doesn’t work like that and then they become frustrated and bitter towards women for not being attracted to them.

    In my life I have seen men who are often not that good looking or wealthy sleep with many women. These guys are confident and cocky. It also seems that the worse they treat women the more women are interested in them. I bet if any of the 80% of unattractive men were seen to be confident and self assured, they would climb the attractiveness charts.

    • When a woman says she wants a nice man, what she means is she wants an attractive man who treats her nicely.
      From my observations he doesn’t actually have to treat her nicely though.

  25. As someone pointed out, the readers and commentators should be made aware that the situation described in this article is very particular to the Anglo countries. In starkest difference with central and eastern European countries, where the sight of an average-looking man with a beautiful woman is not at all uncommon. Even in the cases (which by no means are the norm, as some cynics would point out) where she is with him for the money, he is still better off than men in Anglo countries, where they need both money and great looks to get a higher-than-average looking woman.

  26. Caligula says

    The Three Laws of Heterosexual Relationships:

    “heterosexual females faced a Gini coefficient of 0.324, while heterosexual males faced a much higher Gini coefficient of 0.542.” (Yes, women are far more selective than men.)
    “Younger adults are described as more attractive on average, with an especially large age disadvantage for older women.” (But, women’s attractiveness peaks early and then declines rapidly, whereas a man’s attractiveness is more durable.)
    Briffault’s law: “Where the female can derive no benefit from a relationship with the male, no such association takes place.” (If men want sex more than women, then balancing suppy and demand may involve the man offering some sweeteners to close the deal.)

    From these it follows that
    1. Young adulthood is a sexual golden age for most women, as men will find all but a few young women attractive.

    Young adulthood will be sexually frustrating for many men, as sexual competition for women near their own age will be at its most intense. A man of average attractiveness will find many like himself competing for even the least attractive women, while men of low attractiveness may find they can’t attract anyone at all.
    Older women may still feel they deserve “the best,” but few if any will still be able to attract such men.
    For most men, sexual competition will lessen as they age. Especially if they have more (e.g. personality and social skills, career success) to offer.
    Enforced monogamy (social pressure against promiscuity plus laws making divorce difficult) produces something of a tradeoff. Women typically marry near the peak of their attractiveness: never again will they be able to attract so many high-attractiveness men. Yet over time her attractiveness will fade much faster than his. But, despite her fading attractiveness, the high cost of divorce will discourage him from dumping her.

    With the decline of monogamy, life becomes particularly sweet for men in the top decile of attractiveness. Yet for men will below that standard, their attractiveness will rise relative to women near their own age. Whereas for most women sexual life will become more of a challenge. Thus, although it may seem that women get the better deal under declining monogamy, a life in which expectations rise with age seems easier to navigate than one in which they inexorably fall.

    Finally, Briffault’s law predicts that even unattractive men may be able to find women, at least temporarily, if they have something else to offer. Thus the rise of “sugaring,” etc.

    And then there’s technology: as better virtual-reality sex becomes available, more unattractive men may find it’s just not worth the effort to compete for the real women who might be available to them.

  27. markbul says

    I can’t help thinking that someone is missing the point. And the point is, it’s all about the pussy. It’s ALL about the pussy.

    Women know (that is, many women) that they can go to the corner bar and get laid any night of the week. They can have sex with their fellow students, fellow workers, guys in line at the grocery store, delivery and repair guys, you name it. This means that they can afford to be choosey. So when they rate men for appearance on an app, they’re really doing a computation, rating the guy’s looks relative to how easy it would be to have sex with the guy in real life. So they aren’t really rating appearance – they’re rating based on whether they believe they could have sex with men in real life. I

    f the guy is over their head, they’ll rate him ‘high enough.’ If they could get him at a bar with no trouble, they rate him ‘less than average.’ And this makes sense. Why bother with the app to get what’s already available to you g? So the app skews their rating system to make only Prince Charming types ‘above average.’ And that’s OK. Because they have the pussy, and we want it. If you don’t like it, up your game.

    • Ted Talks says

      You are correct.

      However, when the sex-bots get good if will be fun to watch these same women lose their shit and they become obsolete.

  28. Tim says

    Treating “likes” as a proxy for partners — as the polygyny conclusions require — assumes that women don’t care how many other partners a guy has. This does not match my understanding of how things work.

  29. Blue Haired Feminist Savant says

    The only ethical way of handling this is to make chemical castration widely available and attractive to men. It will probably reduce crime as well.

    It’s more moral for men not to want sex they can’t have than to make women have sex they don’t want.

    Encouraging monogamy socially obviously isn’t sufficient and never has been. It needs to be compelled materially as well. Monogamy is “encouraged” not just by capping the performance of hot men, but by buoying the viability of ugly men. This has been accomplished previously by giving them control over resources, defending their rights to those resources from better men, and limiting the access women have to resources of their own.

    Unless you want to ban birth control and practically cut the GDP in half, monogamy isn’t making a comeback any time soon.

      • Blue Haired Feminist Savant says

        I’m 100% serious.

        Although, I think that if we could work out a way to make men gay, it would be ideal. We’re doing it to the frogs, so who knows what’s possible?

        The market here isn’t actually for sexual release, or else masturbation would solve it. The currency in play is desire.

        • @Blue: In my experience, crushing alimony solves the problem perfectly. Now, if we could only find a way to extract it before marriage.

    • scribblerg says

      Hey Blue Hair, you would have made it BIG in Nazi Germany. They wanted to design people too. And of course, the only reason you come up with this horrifying idea is because you hate men to begin with. Don’t worry, most of us hate you right back.

      • Blue Haired Feminist Savant says

        I fail to see how this differs from the treatment of mental illness, which is conceptualized as a social problem before it is ever established as a medical one.

        An individual might be depressed because they are unaccomplished or unloved, but the answer isn’t to give them a position they do not deserve or make others love them, it is to reduce the suffering as much as is medically possible. The anti-psychotics prescribed to the boy with a “conduct disorder” are to mitigate social risk and prevent collective suffering.

        There is no way to “design” away this problem because unattractive men are not unattractive in a vacuum, they are unattractive relative to other men.

        • we could on the other hand also try to make women want more sex than the top 20% of men can provide. That way expanding genetic diversity, which is for all we know so far desirable as the more diverse offspring has a better chance for an improved immunity system and therefore survival.

          wait, isn’t there a group promoting promiscuous behavior of women?

          Feminists are for free-birth control, free abortion, promoting homosexuality, experimenting with different poly-amorous relationships, etc.
          So Feminists promote a behavior, that takes away women’s elevated position of power on the sexual marketplace.

        • Alon says

          Blue haired savant. This is a short game feminists are playing that will ultimately win over them in the long run.

          Men are adapt to being alone. Women aren’t, and as more and more women ruin their ability to pair bond and otherwise shun men into isolation now, those men will brutally ignore women when they run into the wall.

          You reap what you sow. Enjoy your cats.

    • Ghatanathoah says

      @Blue Haired Feminist Savant

      Before trying something as drastic as castration, it might be worth trying some kind of biological tweak to make women orgasm during sex as easily as men do.

      There’s considerable evidence that 90+% of the reason women are less into casual sex than men is that it’s harder for them to orgasm from it. If the only reason women don’t want as much sex is because they don’t get as much out of it, then all you have to do is make them get as much out of casual sex as men do.

      If we could do that, we wouldn’t need to encourage monogamy, because polyandry would take its place.

      Of course, men and women don’t just want casual sex, they also want marriage and long-term relationships. Encouraging androgynous behavior seems like the best way to supply more of that. If men and women are more similar to each other they will have more in common, and therefore be more compatible in long term relationships.

      • designer says

        That might be the way forward to get a power balance between the sexes. This means learn from the experts, the lesbians. Don’t concentrate on the old in-and-out game but on the clit. That is where the punctum saliens is.

      • Blue Haired Feminist Savant says

        Conceiving of it a medical problem like ADHD or restless leg syndrome, and prescribing a treatment that alleviates the personal and social suffering it causes.

        We already have “Sex Addiction” why not “Excess Libido Syndrome”?

        • Max says

          Why don’t we go back to lobotomizing rambunctious women?

        • Deer Pioneer says

          Or “Low Libido Syndrome”, why not? We could re-engineer women to make them nymphomaniac and attracted to every male. It’s the same on the ethic level, but with much more fun involved.

  30. V 2.0 says

    Are women perhaps rating the men as technically unattractive but partnering with them anyway? After all, if Bill Gates and Donald Trump can find someone how important can physical attractiveness be?

    • Blue Haired Feminist Savant says

      Modest economic capital used to translate to sexual capital (although not sexual desire) because women had limited access to economic capital. Now that they don’t.

      Women don’t settle for unattractive men out of need for sexual release, but for some other need like companionship or money.

      The freer the market is from the subsidy of patriarchy, the more it returns to it’s natural state, dictated by the honest sexual desire of women.

      • scribblerg says

        Giggling. Truly silly statement. Women seek provider men cuz they will stick around and raise children with them. I know, in your feminist world, fathers are irrelevant. But keep in mind, only 22% of women in the West ID as feminists, and 54% of millennial women don’t either.

        Your worldview is a minority view that most people laugh at. Get that.

      • Richard says

        It’s fair to consider methods of reducing desire in the same space that others consider methods of fulfilling that desire, especially in this context. It’s a little bit funny, though, to talk about some sexual behavior marketplace returning to its natural state when you still have widespread use of birth control fundamentally changing the relationship between the sexes. Not that birth control is the end-all-be-all of sexual behavior arguments, but it’s a pretty huge and rather unnatural factor.

      • Roy says

        Which harem will you want to be in?

        What will be your rank in that harem? How often will the patriarch visit your bed?

        Feminsts seem to crave a muslim-like society.

        It’s coming.

        • Blue Haired Feminist Savant says

          I would not join a harem because I do not need the money.

          If I did join a harem, it would probably be Jeff Bezo’s since I don’t think I could love a man under such circumstances anyway. My rank would be “perpetually raises red laterns”

    • Deer Pioneer says

      There is a misconception that’s becoming widespread in popular culture. “Attractiveness” is not the same as “physical attractiveness”, that is, physical aspect is just a part of attractiveness.

      Among many traits, personal power has a very important role in male attractiveness. Being powerful, by means of status, wealth and/or behaviour, is an independent source of attractiveness. A normal woman is aroused by a global perception of the individual, and power is a major player in this global picture.

      So, this woman definitely can be attracted and aroused by a powerful man even if his physical aspect in itself is unattractive to her. The fascinating part is that the very perception of his physical aspect depends on frame, so this Trump/Gates/whatever will be perceived as attractive even on the physical level. This concept is similar to the halo bias and explains those off-putting experiences – “I know he’s not handsome, but I feel like he is better than handsome! He makes me tingle like never before, he makes handsomeness seems drab and boring.” That is, attraction and arousal.

      Perception is a complex process linked to construction of meaning. It’s far from a on-way, linear acquisition of data.

  31. Tatiana says

    I wanted to add to this the usual trapping of what it means to be masculine vs. what it means to be feminine. Overall, beauty is not considered a masculine trait. Women, even the most average-looking ones, transform easily via make up and flattering clothing and thus can move upwards on the attractivity scale. Unfortunately, it is (or at least has been for centuries) a predominant social law to claim that a man who cares about his appearance is shallow or vain. Or, absurdly, too feminine.

    Why not acknowledge that instead of digging in the far-reaching reasons of how most males are left at the curb? It is a very one-sided discussion if we do not address the fact that in Western society male beauty (especially looking for ways to enhance it if the natural one is lacking) is deemed largely inappropriate. Even using words “male beauty” in a serious discussion feels slightly wrong. “Male attractiveness” in our Western culture means something beyond the mere appearance (status and behavior, most of all), whereas “female attractiveness” is essentially a synonym for “female beauty”. Female beauty, therefore, is a good worth investing in and pursuing. Male beauty is not. But what other good can a dating App offer, really? It is visual, and there is little to no way to find out if a male is funny, smart or responsible. In the land of the dating Apps, beauty is the ONLY good. So I would suggest to either not use dating Apps for making such large claims about society, or to adjust for the negative trait — in fact, a sin — of a male enhancing his own natural beauty that had been nested in Western civilization for millennia,

    Take a look at Middle Eastern men, or East Asians, for example. The majority of them do not mind make up, and yes, kohl eyes make quite a lot of otherwise average-looking men in the Middle East much more attractive (even though some of their behaviors might be a turn off. Here, I am talking about the strictly visual experience of perceiving male beauty). But when a Western man tries to highlight his eyes with make up, what demeaning names does he get called?

    There are entire industries in East Asia built on the beauty of males and how to properly use and enhance it. Ask yourselves about why most women in the world find K-pop guys so irresistible. Is it because of their superior genes and better facial structures? No, far from that. At first glance, most of K-pop band members aren’t even that attractive because their appeal isn’t based solely on their natural beauty. Most of it is style, dress, diet, hairstyling and yes, make up. Compared to them, most Western men are very, very unappealing because if they don’t possess natural beauty, they would consider it vain, shallow, or something even worse to even bother with manipulating it. Because of that, the sheer sex appeal of Western males is a less obvious good than their status or personality traits. But status and personality take time to unveil, and most dating Apps allow us, women, to finally discriminate based solely on appearance. Because why not? There are so many males to choose from — so why waste time on a bland-looking “sparrow” who can’t bother himself to compete with other males for the female’s attention when you have access to so many eager “peacocks” instead?

    After all, this is a dogma of female competition in the arena of sex appeal. Women do not put on make up to attract men. We do it to compete with other women, some of whom might have vastly superior genes and natural resources than others. Does that stop the rest of women from daring and trying to compete? And whining about the unfairness of nature afterwards? No — it forces women to be cunning and very proficient in manipulating our appearances. It’s an arms race, if you will.

    So I say it’s not women’s fault that in the (Western) society “male beauty” can only be one rigid thing. Such a dated perception has nothing to do with biology — only with social customs that have far outlived their utility. In fact, biology would advise men to adapt and evolve past that and expand their horizons on what male beauty is and can be, I think.

    And above all: if you use data from a visual-based ranking system where males obviously are lacking in performance and presentation skills, then please adjust the entire article to reflect that. This data shows nothing more than “males, overall, have no idea how to market themselves visually, and females do not like that”. In era of Instagram and make-believe lifestyles, women want photogenic partners because such an accessory generates prestige for women among other women. Believe me, they do not care so much about his natural good looks but about how he looks in a PHOTO. Most males in the world could achieve that level easily if they only tried.

    • Sean says

      “Ask yourselves about why most women in the world find K-pop guys so irresistible.” Because they’re famous. Men/boys in bands have always been appealing to women. Look at Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler, they are hardly good looking but many, many women throw themselves at those guys. Pretty much any guy in a successful band is a magnet to lots of women.

      “Overall, beauty is not considered a masculine trait.” Most men take care with their appearance. They may do this by going to the gym, but often through the clothes they wear, the way they style their hair or dye it as they get older, the way they display facial hair through shaving, 5 O’clock shadow or beard. Just because they don’t wear makeup doesn’t mean they don’t care.

      “Women do not put on make up to attract men. We do it to compete with other women,”. Of course women do this for men. Women are competing with other women for MEN. If it’s not for men then what are they competing with other women for? To be more attractive to men.

      “There are so many males to choose from — so why waste time on a bland-looking “sparrow…” The numbers don’t add up for me with this phrase. Let’s say there are 1,000 men and 1,000 women on an a dating app. If 80% of women find 20% of men attractive then 800 women are going after 200 guys or 4 women for every guy. This means the guys are sleeping with multiple women or if the men are faithful to one woman each, 600 women are still single. Women may want a photogenic guy but what are they going to do when all the Brad Pitts are taken? Look elsewhere or go single.

      I agree that dating apps are new territory and many people don’t feel comfortable or know how to maximise them.

      • Tatiana says


        Thank you for writing this. I wanted to add a lot about prestige of goods, about female hierarchy, and about attraction contrary to popularity into my original comment, but it was getting too long for me already and I was afraid my thoughts would end up being too scattered to actually offer a genuine different look that could matter to the article above.

        Essentially this is what my comment is to offer. A view from a woman’s perspective that I think this article ignores entirely. A woman thinks much like a man in terms of the partner’s attractiveness. Sex appeal is very fine on its own, but would we want it as much if we couldn’t flaunt our attractive sex toy in guise of a man/woman? Males want attractive women not only because they’re nice to look at in a closed room where no one else will ever see her, but as a precious item every other male wants as well. It is worth keeping and protecting only if it is desired by many. So it becomes a status symbol of “I want because everyone wants” more than a mere “I want because pretty”. Most Eastern European below-average guys with hot wives that people write comments above are seeing beautiful women as Rolexes with legs that they have to possess because in their world it’s the baseline. Well, women see beautiful men the same way. It’s fun that they’re pretty to look at in the bedroom, but in the end what they give you is status and prestige among other women when you show them off outside of bedroom.

        Yes, males want females for reproduction and females want males for the same general result. It’s biology and it manifests in slightly different patterns of possessiveness in sexes, but overall I find it very fallatious to say that opinion of people of the same sex does not matter as much as attracting sexual partners for reproduction. That my husband is hot, reflects well on me among other women, and vice versa for him. Opinions of same sex matter to us subconsciously much more than we’d like it, but it’s true. Opinions of the opposite sex are much less valuable, though. They are easy to get. Forgive me my vulgarity, but I know I would find a (male) sexual partner pretty easily whenever I want solely on the fact that I have a vagina and I am fit and look healthy. What role does make up play in that? A very superficial one, including the fact that most males do not even like “make up” on women and like announcing that, too. What they enjoy is the “no make up” make up when they can pretend the woman has just been born pretty — because all males to some extent are afraid to be tricked by an extensive make up illusion (hence the many articles on how to check if the woman under all the caked up make up is actually pretty). When I put on make up to attract males, it looks wildly different from the make up I put on to impress women. Do guys really find my blue or chartreuse nails or bold oxblood (or, god forbid, black) lips very attractive? No. Does it help with marketing my reproductory value? Not at all. But women in my circles like it, and I put on such make up solely for them. After all, only women compliment my make up (my skill), my choice of nail polish (my taste), or my clothes (my status and proficiency in fashion industry). It’s not even interesting, to put on make up or dress up for males, to be honest with you. Men’s tastes are very boring and only care about me tastefully enhancing my reproductory values. I have my tasteful pink lipsticks, clear nail polish and my nigh-invisible mascaras for that purpose. They are dull as hell, sorry. Likewise with fashion. When I go out wth my husband, I dress for males because I know that my husband enjoys other men’s attention on me. But when I’m alone, 1) I am uncomfortable with male attention overall, seeing as I’m married and am not looking for a partner; 2) I want to regain my high, respected rank in women’s hierarchy, so I sometimes dress and put on make up specifically “opposite of male taste” because such skill is usually very impressive to women and is fun only among us — like an exclusive club. Most women behave this way. We know when we are visual goods to be looked at, and we know when we are our own agents and need to instead flaunt our independence from male gaze. Please do not tell me you understand how we work better than we do. There are at least two modes of our social performance, not one.

        I think a lot of claims that women sometimes dress to find sexual partners and therefore they always dress for that purpose are a mistake based on the fact that a lot of women’s hierarchy depends on not impressing other women, but intimidating them. Alas, that is also true. There is a Venn diagram overlap in putting on revealing clothes and “slutty” make up when it’s both for attracting males and as a loud statement to all the women about your aggressive, predatory status that sometimes can even boost a female’s ranking in the hierarchy because women are usually intimidated by other women who are unafraid of their own sexuality. (Insert here the difference in male and female libido and all societal myths associated with that. When women see a woman who claims she has a man’s libido, that is always scary to other females. It puts our entire system of beliefs about who we are, in question. Although, most of the time such a claim is an act and is false). But it’s double edged, too, because when a woman intimidates too many women too often, she can lose her standing in the female community completely. And that is much more dangerous to women than the dislike of men. A woman ostracised by her sex will not survive on her own — males will forget her once her beauty fades, is dealt with by jealous opponents, or once her reputation is ruined. Do not tell me men’s opinion would matter a single bit in such a circumstance. When women want to destroy a woman, they will do it more efficiently than any man can.

        So, to sum up, standing in women’s hierarchy is crucial to women. Some of it depends on our attractiveness to males and in that case it’s a tightrope walking between impressing men and not pissing off women, but most times it is unrelated to males or their opinions at all. Remember: a woman can always survive among other women solely on her behavior and agency, whether she’s ugly or pretty. A woman among men only survives based on her relation to the man — her agency doesn’t matter. That’s not a tradeoff a lot of women would want in modern society, really.

        Regarding K-pop idols, I want to say that their popularity is a good, too, but it is not entirely correct to equivolate sheer (and sometimes blind) popularity with baseline sex appeal. They are different goods. So do not compare K-pop idols to Jaegger or a Beattle, for example. Jaegger did not work for all women, and Beattles did not work for everyone as well. That’s why there is a distinction of “bad boy rock” and “good boy rock” in the first place, to try and start filling out the niches of female interests. But there are K-pop idols who are Jaeggers, there are Paul McCartneys, and there are countless of other styles and images present there. K-pop idols work so well because they are a supermarket for women: you can find one dude style that fits your needs 100%. Jaegger, for instance, does work fine based on his popularity, but outside of his iconic aura of a talented, celebrated, “bad boy cool” musician, no woman in her right mind would call him attractive. Now compare it to K-pop. They are pretty boys first, and only then a female listener tries to get into their music or lifestyle. Post factum. If we are talking about the strictly visual experience, sorry — no one would swipe right on Jaegger based on his looks. No one, likewise, considers K-pop boys real icons of musical industry. They are eye candy.

        No amount or lack of popularity will stop women from feeling attracted to a hot guy. Say, you see a very hot woman in real life who is not a celebrity, and then see a much less hot woman on a movie poster. You will be attracted to both for different reasons because they offer you different goods. So do not dismiss women’s sexuality as though it is all in male status and not at all in how a man looks. It’s both, and each works differently. Women’s sexual organs respond to hot guys no matter their popularity, sometimes to our conscious shame because yes — our desires can be very, very shallow. Just like men’s desires. And in fact, too much popularity in K-pop may even work against most of them. I don’t want to get into this discussion right now, but there are plenty examples in J-pop and K-pop of popularity being contrary to an idol’s attractiveness to fans. Think the typical fallacy of “Millions of people watch Transformers, therefore the majority’s taste always sucks”. K-pop and J-pop idols change so often precisely because no one really likes to be attracted to the most popular ones. In this, Jaegger and Beattles work against your argument because, again, they are iconic in more ways than visual, and they were also slim pickings in an otherwise empty supermarket.

        Lastly, to talk about male make up and care. I know men take care of themselves, and I respect them for that. Clean, well-dressed man is a classic staple of female gaze, especially if he possesses a beautiful face. But what if he doesn’t? And what if he has to compete with other males who are just as clean, well-dressed and fit, but also have good facial structures he lacks? And in an environment where he cannot prove how smart, kind, funny and wonderful he is deep inside? Like on a dating App?What then? Then most males will just surrender and say “I guess that’s it. Nature’s unfair”. No woman would ever say that. So do not say male care for their looks is nearly on the same level as female. That’s simply not true. Men do not care one bit about how they look to women if it’s at the expense of how they look to other men. Men are not eager to be the focus of unashamed female gaze. And the point is, unashamed female gaze does not even fully exist yet. We, women, have a lower libido than men. We usually take pride in being more cerebral when it comes to finding a sexual partner — even in modern times when we are very far away from choosing husbands based on their status. Even now, most women are ashamed when we are attracted to a hot guy singly because he’s hot. So female gaze is a very discreet, finally-trying-to-grow thing, and industries like K-pop and some others only now begin to cater to it. So it’s only natural that most men are not even aware of what constitutes a female gaze so their primary baseline is still the male gaze of respectability, dignity and cleanliness. It had worked for males for millennia except for some brief times during decadent eras. So now it’s a decadent era again, I guess. Males now can only compete in the area of visual ranking if they evolve to cater to female gaze while sacrificing their need for validation in the male one. Alas.

        And no — I and most women do not want men to wear caked on make up and false eyelashes like women. God no. But we want more pleasing faces to choose from. Guys with pimples?Chaffed lips? Weak eyebrow angles? Skin discoloration? All these things are minor and do not require a Trans Diva worth of make up. Hint: women’s most attractive make up style is called “no make up” precisely because it looks so natural to the opposite sex. But it still helps women who do not possess outstanding facial genetics. Well, this is all I’m saying about males who want to be more attractive to women visually. There are ways to enhance one’s natural beauty. It’s easy, but it still is very different from just being clean shaven or having a good haircut. The fact that most men bring up the mere “unkeeping” as a synonym for pursuit of beauty is one of the reasons men in this article wonder why only 20% are found attractive by women. Upkeep is not a sign of competing for female gaze. It’s the lazy baseline.

        Hope this elaborates on my points, and sorry if it is too long or if I didn’t address some of your points.

        And thanks for talking to me. This discussion is very fascinating to me.

        • Sean says


          Thank you for your detailed reply. “Please do not tell me you understand how we work better than we do.” So basically don’t mansplain to you, yet you proceed to talk at length about what men are like. Hypocritical, no? Also it beggars belief to think every woman in the world understands women better than any man could. Are you saying that self-centered, deluded or unbalanced women understand women better than a male trained psychologist who has studied human psychology for decades does? If you accept that in this circumstance the male would have a better understanding of women then there must be other instances too. I am not a psychologist btw.

          My main disagreement with your comments is you talk about how women are, how they share common perceptions/thinking/values. I don’t believe for a moment all women think alike just as all men don’t think alike.

          You mention K and J pop a lot. These boy bands go for an androgynous look. If that’s what floats your boat, that’s fine but many women do not find these pretty boys attractive. “K-pop idols work so well because they are a supermarket for women: you can find one dude style that fits your needs 100%.” I can guarantee you that there are lots of women who don’t go for the boy bands with makeup on and will not find a K-pop member who fits their needs 100%. You are projecting your likes onto all women. A true test of the attractiveness of these band members would be to have them walk around anonymously on the street and see if women think the same about them as they do when they see them in a video or on stage. I highly doubt it.

          What is the most popular music in the western world right now? Rap and hip hop. These are unbermasculine forms of music. Even female rappers generally emphasize masculine traits. These are not the boy bands like K and J pop or even western boy bands like N’Sync or the Backdoor Boys. They don’t wear makeup. Yet many women love the look and image of them.

          “Males want attractive women not only because they’re nice to look at in a closed room where no one else will ever see her, but as a precious item every other male wants as well.” Again, (aside from the hypocrisy of womansplaining) you lump all men together. We are not all the same. Some men do this throughout their lives, but they are in the minority. It is certainly more common during early stages of a man’s life but rapidly diminishes as we get older bar a minority of men for whom this will remain important.

          If you and your husband love to show each other off then I’m happy for you, but you really need to look outside your circle and see that for many it is not something they do or want to do. People are different.

          One interesting thing about the 80-20% stat with dating apps, you don’t talk about the 20% of women who don’t limit themselves to the 20% of best looking men. How do these fit into your comments about every woman only liking the most attractive men? They don’t. These are the women who have the chance to pick through 80% of men. Do they have a lower bar? or are they less shallow?

          Your comments about how women establish social pecking order with makeup/attractiveness is interesting and there are some good points about how it works. However, what is the goal of being at the top of the attractiveness pecking order? It is to get the top pick of men. It is to put on makeup so when you are out you can maximise your appeal to men. Now maybe you do this to find a man or to show off for your man but nonetheless, it is to be attractive to men. Also, not ALL women do this.

          ““I guess that’s it. Nature’s unfair”. No woman would ever say that.” AGAIN NOT ALL WOMEN ARE THE SAME. some women can be just as defeatist as some men are.

          “The fact that most men bring up the mere “unkeeping” as a synonym for pursuit of beauty is one of the reasons men in this article wonder why only 20% are found attractive by women.” The 20% you mention are found attractive by 80% of women. What about the other 20% of women who are more open minded?

          You seem to be someone who likes the glamorous life where everyone is pretty and looks are very important to social standing. There are certainly a lot of people who enjoy this life, but I doubt if even half the population of either gender is as focused on looks as you are. Certainly not once people get a bit older.

          “Men are not eager to be the focus of unashamed female gaze. And the point is, unashamed female gaze does not even fully exist yet.” You really need to get out more. Some women know what they like, are vocal in expressing it and have no shame or embarrassment about it, as should be the case. Also there are lots of men who love the focus of unashamed female gaze. In the glamour world it may be uncouth to act like a heathen, but not everyone lives in those circles.

          “We usually take pride in being more cerebral when it comes to finding a sexual partner ” WTF??? Your whole comment is about how important looks are for women but then you say women are more cerebral?

          • Tatiana says

            @ Sean,

            I am sorry to frustrate you, but I realize that I should preface my every single line with “in my most humble opinion, dear reader, please consider that when you write articles/opinions describing how you think men/women think, I can and should be able to do the same without being called names in the process”.

            I am sorry to make you feel like you can insult me with attacks on my personality and my sincere opinions. I thought this was a site for people to discuss things. I thought it was acceptable to argue in good faith and not try to trip the opponent based of Slippery Slope, Strawman’s fallacy, Nitpicking, Ad Hominems and the rest. Where in my account have I ever said that you “mansplained” to me? Why would you think I ever considered you or your words that? Now you also seem to claim that I yelled “mansplainer!” first, or what? Where have I ever done that? Show me. I merely now consider you a close-minded individual who can’t even try to care to see another person’s point of view if it is divorced from yours.

            We are talking about visual perception of beauty. By women. By young women of my age. The demographic that is the majority of what it cited in this article. I offer my opinion on the piece since the piece lacks the opinion of its research target completely. You shame me, distort my words, then chase me away with “womansplainings” and “you are shallow” tirades.

            I can dispute all of your points, but I’m not sure I should because it so seem that you will always create weaker, sometimes completely false strawmen of my initial arguments and attack them instead, getting angry at me in the process if one of your own strawmen prickles you. This is simply a waste of my time, alas. And yes, you are absolutely right when you say that all women do not like the same things, but I didn’t say they didn’t! I didn’t say, “all women in the world like X type of beauty” in the first place, outside of truisms I quoted from many above comments like, “women in general are romantically-minded”, and “women choose their partners more thoroughly than men”. Which are, again, truisms! So why don’t you attack several people above, including the author of the article for saying the same general things?

            (And no: I was not contradicting myself when I said that last thing with “women are more cerebral in choosing partners”. If you actually bothered to read me carefully, you would have understood that. But you didn’t. You only want to be angry and/or offended by my opinions. Which, I hear most often in all the SJW-bashings, is a choice. I hope you enjoy this choice of yours to be so offended).

            Here I wrote an extensive paragraph elaborating, again, what tastes are and can be, and how changes in taste such as hip-hop and females gravitating towards that is a different damned good from the concept of barest VISUAL attractiveness, but… god, I feel like I am talking to a wall. So instead of going on with my commentary to your reply, I erased my words.

            I’m sorry. I can’t continue this thread with you. You will never listen. You will never even pretend to respect anything I will ever offer you in good faith like I did to you — if not from genuine interest, then at least basic human politeness. For people who claim to hate SJWs and NPCs for their lack of good faith arguments, some of people here are starting to resemble SjWs and NPCs more and more. If not by their current claim power, then by the use of the same old techniques of silencing the opponent. By name calling. Which, incidentally, only proves one point: if given all this cultural power back, you will abuse it just like all those SjWs do. To bully and shut people up.

            I do lament dignity and patience people had in the Age of Enlightenment when everyone, no matter their gender, profession, language skill, class, race, or education could be in the same place, coffeehouse or debate salon, and hold arguments made to help each other understand other humans better. Instead of whatever this is.

            Again, sorry to frustrate you, and have a good day. I won’t talk anymore to a person who, during a discussion of women’s tastes in VISUAL attractiveness of males, calls me shallow for talking mostly about… the visual attractiveness of males.

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      I thought that women liked those k-pop boys because those groups are homoerotic

      • Tatiana says

        @ Denny,

        Yes, but what are the underlying causes of that?

        This is a very interesting discussion as well, and I have wondered a lot about it when considering the male-on-male romance catering to female audiences or female-on-female porn catering to males. To be fair, I am completely out of my depth in discussing the latter, but I can testify a lot in the formet, plus, I know that a lot of hikkikomori males, for instance, prefer the all-female casts of normal, non-porn-related slice-of-life TV Shows and anime only because they are the sole male present in the picture. I.e. their male gaze is not competing with anyone else inside the TV Show or the anime. The voyeuristic viewer is the alpha male in that case because there is no other one male present in his perception of the female dynamic.

        So it works much the same for women. It’s not because the pop boys toy with our emotions of “wow, gay!” and that’s it, It is because if a K-pop idol hangs out with a girl, she is our enemy because she is not us. When he hangs out with a boy, we do not mind. A boy is not competing with the female audience for another boy no matter what he does (we know we have something he will never have — a vagina). So we are the only gaze that matters. Consider homoerotic teasing a male harem slice of life. Again, males have higher libidos than women, so it’s not very feasible that one woman can satisfy many men. But no woman would mind if in her “mind space”, harem males played with each other. After all, she’s still the only alpha female there.

        By the way, some of homoeroticism is attractive to women only because we, women, like to see men in submissive roles. But only sometimes. We usually do not see them in submissive roles when in sexual relationships with us, so we do not mind seeing him submitting at least somewhere, to someone. A lot of sexual tension, I believe, is built on power dynamics of submission and control and balance between them. But since such a facet as male submission usually is missing in female-male partnership and is in fact derogatory to a male (so by nature not very attractive to a female), we substitute it with fascination with homoeroticism. A male submitting to his complete equal is not as derogatory, overall, and is even romantic because nothing truly serious (a baby, the sole biological purpose of sex) can really come out of such relationship. In a way, homoerotic male relationships, to females, seem purer than male on female relationship, and we all know that females are much more romantically minded than males.

        I hope this elaborates on my point enough? And thanks for talking to me.

      • Sean says

        You dismiss any of my comments where I don’t agree with you with this line ““Please do not tell me you understand how we work better than we do.” This is the source of my mansplaining comment.

        “You will never listen” Because I don’t agree with you means I am an ignorant person whereas you see the light? Ah, the arrogance of youth.

    • Ted Talks says

      “I wanted to add to this the usual trapping of what it means to be masculine vs. what it means to be feminine. Overall, beauty is not considered a masculine trait. Women, even the most average-looking ones, transform easily via make up and flattering clothing and thus can move upwards on the attractivity scale. Unfortunately, it is (or at least has been for centuries) a predominant social law to claim that a man who cares about his appearance is shallow or vain. Or, absurdly, too feminine.”

      I dont think this is true at all. In fact, many cultures, including our own here in the west, have been very infatuated with the beauty of the male body. Look at the ancient Roman and Greek statues, they were all celebrations of the male body. Today, no one considers bodybuilders to be ‘too feminine’

      In fact, bodybuilding is probably the most extreme form of beauty enhancement and considered socially acceptable, not a sin as you say.

      “Ask yourselves about why most women in the world find K-pop guys so irresistible”

      The dont. Only a small sub set of nerdy females give a shit a k pop guys. Most women dont even know what k pop is.

      Your thesis here is built on a lot of assumptions.

      • Tatiana says

        @ Ted Talks,

        How so? You dismiss my thesis by strawman fallacy, really. I never said that male beauty the way I talked about it is confined to body, (and this is the most widely represented area of male beauty in the West, yes). But, first of all, I never claimed that and I will address this point in full, below, and second of all, representing female sexuality via historical realistic art is erroneous at best, and simply incorrect at worst. Add to this the fact that most historical art has been created by males — and we cannot really base our assumptions of what constitutes female gaze from it. Moreover, there are at least two big directions in all visual art: the realistic one and the idealistic one. Classic antiquity and Renaissance sculpture and paintings celebrating male body (and female as well) represent only half of all historical art. The other one is idealistic. The religious art, the sentimental, the Romance, the Gothic, the Art Nouveau, Modernism by a large margin. Nowhere is the true human beauty more evident than in those art narratives. But please show me where the human body is exalted there. It isn’t. It’s the beauty of human soul and the beauty of human face that is angelic and transcendent and incorporates the word “beauty” in its full meaning. The body is nothing compared to that, that’s why you had to add “beauty of the human body” in your above comment. When we say a man is beautiful, we mean his eyes, his face, his overall image in which his body is only one of many parts. And when we cannot really say that a man is beautiful, we have to say “handsome” like we’re ashamed that a man can be viewed with such superficiality as to only focus on his face. Beautiful, lovely and pretty all usually describe the human face, not the human body. So please do not straw man me here.

        Too add to the above, historically, women have always been more drawn to idealistic art than to the realistic one. Just how we are. We like romance, we like sentimentality, we like chivalry, we like galantry and above all, dignity. The beauty of human body, while undeniable, is also walking a fine line with vulgarity and most women usually shy away from that.

        Body building effort also fades much sooner than a well-proportioned, symmetrical, truly beautiful face, and cannot be passed on to the offspring. In fact, most body builders in old age are distractingly unattractive compared to males who had not been body building their entire lives. Age, getting fat, getting sick or injured maim bodily beauty so much faster. There will always be younger, more fit bodies around. If it’s only the body beauty that matters, then a head is largely replaceable and dismissable, no? Like having sex with a person with a bag on their head? Attraction to body beauty is essentially the “butter face” phenomenon, then. Like, most men would bone a “butter face” woman — but so would most women bone a “but his face” man. Why should it be different? If the person lacks in the good facial structure department, then a beautiful body is more than enough! But I would ask you not to equivocate natural beauty (one is born with: face, good proportions, nice shapes) to enhanced beauty (gym, make up, plastic surgery, etc). If the first one is lacking, no one would mind the second, but the first is and will always be preferable.

        And believe me, women can discern a “but his face” guy as easily as men discern a “butter face” girl. Is that not a reason a lot of women say, “I am not attracted to a dick/abs, I’m attracted to the head this dick/abs are attached to”. In the case of such statement, most women actually mean the guy’s brain and personality, not his facial beauty, but a man with a gorgeous face will still always rank higher even in intelligence conpared to a man with simply good abs. Subconsciously, a woman is much more likely to evaluate his intellect and personality higher if he has a pretty face. We want our babies to be hot and reproduce as much as possible! A beautiful face is always better than everything else because muscles can always be attainted through effort, but a face can’t. That’s just biology.

        (Note that a lot of women state outright that they swipe to ignore the guys who only post photos of their specs or abs on dating Apps. Most women in fact consider males who flaunt their “body beauty” to be incredibly shallow f*ckbois because such parading of one’s body is genuinely distasteful among all sexes. Should not a woman who posts photos celebrating her nude body and highlighting the specific parts that are reproductively valuable, be called “slutty”? If she mainly focuses on her breats and butt, without showing her face, yes — she would be labeled that. Absolutely. So men are labeled that as well and dismissed because women are much less interested in “just sex” than males. Why is that such a surprise? And are we not talking here about women’s tastes in dating Apps specifically? My answer is at least addressing that issue, while yours is very tangential and historically-based (also a fallacy), I’m sorry).

        Another biological facet I have to address here is that males have always been appreciated for what women lack: strength. So women in the times before ours have always looked for males who could prove, physically, how strong they are. It wasn’t a mere means to make our babies hotter when born from such males, but the actual means to raise babies and have them survive. Most women did not care about male beauty in those times because those times were harsher than ours. Women cared about survivability of the offspring and the higher chance that a strong male can 1) defend her and the child by sheer power, 2) more likely to return home from the war based on how strong he is, 3) can work more land and amass more capital through his strength. That’s it. That’s why in previous times female gaze was concentrated on male body — it gave us crucial info about our future with the male. But we live in a different society now, and male strength, while attractive, is mostly a leftover instinct in appreciating male beauty than a real point against the focus on a beautiful face. Now a man doesn’t necessarily need to be strong (merely fit) to advertise his reproductory value. And the further we go from the primeval instincts, the more male beauty wil be concentrated in appreciating his face rather than anything else. Because, to repeat, a body can be built through natural means. A face cannot.

        Hope this reply clarifies my previous points, and sorry if I wrote unclearly in my original post. Also thank you for talking to me.

        • Ted Talks says


          My point wasn’t that every western art style celebrates the physique, only that major art styles have celebrated that men are beautiful. Which is our disagreement. You dont think we as a society think men can be beautiful, but I do.

          While yes, much of the art in that I am talking about is centered around the body, the body is not separate from the head and face. David is a beautiful man. He was sculpted to be both beautiful and a man.

          I agree that people shy away from calling men beautiful, but I think that is a recent thing. I have no issue with calling men beautiful. In fact, I think overall, men are the more beautiful of the sexes. I say that was someone solely sexually attracted to women.

          I also disagree that women are solely interested in faces above bodies. I have spoken to many women who are very attracted to bodies, and not just body builders. I mean they are attracted to the male physique. A smaller man can still have broad shoulders, thick back, chest, and legs. Dare I say that even a few scars would be nice? All of that on a mediocre face would still make for a beautiful man. Granted, there may be a face ugly enough to negate all of that, but Id imagine said face would have to be pretty bad. Like wise, a beautiful face on a body that looks incapable of a single push up would likely prove to be unattractive. We want our babies to be hot and survive, push up ability will aid survival. You mention this in your reply, but I think you are mistaken in that simply because we live in a different time means our attraction changes. I dont believe it does.

          • Tatiana says

            @Ted Talks

            Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I genuinely agree that masculinity actually offers more ways to perceive beauty than femininity. Albeit a lot of Classical men’s faces and hairstyles do tend to look much more feminine compared to ours than even people of today are used to. Men’s strength is beautiful, too, but in a different way, probably? Like, I can see an actual utility in being strong for the person who possesses strength, whereas a person who is merely beautiful can’t exactly use that quality unless he is being perceived, if that makes sense. So beauty as a word has this odd connotation of being nearly practically useless for its owner, except for the enjoyment someone draws from the simple act of looking at that owner. And because of that, beauty would seem to be more prone to societal changes and different cultural perceptions of beauty (outside of the basic “healthy”, which, I think, most cultures would actually agree on. But even weight and health perception drawn from it fluctuated wildly in how humans perceived its beauty and/or ugliness, across many cultures). So the word beautiful is incredibly slippery in grasping, even though there may be several historical tendencies that usually follow the same general direction. Nowadays, it simply shifts more to one side of the spectrum (performance beauty of Instagram, for instance) than it did previously.

            I didn’t say, though, that all women care about faces above bodies. The variety in facial beauty, by the way, would seem to be much greater than the variety of beautiful bodies. Good bodies are all kinda of the same template, whereas facial beauty will vary significantly. So, statistically, without an actual selection of faces to choose from, it is probably wiser to say that a good body matters more since there is so little variety there. But in an App, a photo of a headless body will be usually rejected by a woman unless she is interested in mostly sex. Because… what real information can one gather from a photo of a good-looking abs? There will always be plenty of actual people with actual faces to choose from once she swipes to ignore this random headless torso. Some of them will also possess good-looking abs, sooner or later in her search. So I just said that women find it a bit shallow of men to show off their bodies or concentrate too much on bodies. It is rather unpleasant. If the body is nice, we’ll enjoy it. No need to overdo it like a lot, quite a lot of young men do on dating Apps. I’m not going to even talk about what part of male bodies males seem to enjoy showing to women the most. To add to that, it is much easier to guess the man’s personality by looking on his face than on his body. I know most of such guesses will be incorrect, but still. Body would say so much less in a span it takes a woman to swipe, than a face.

            Overall, I have nothing to add to your reply because I agree with almost everything you wrote.

            And I guess I can also agree with you that strength is important to the potential offspring. But maybe based on the different place of living? Or better yet, class? I see it less of a cultural divide and more of a class divide, actually. Generally, it seems like the positive perception of gendered beauty (muscles, beards for men, wide hips and big breasts for women) shifts slightly the further into elites this perception moves. Correct me if I’m wrong, but androgyny and androgynous looks (lack of curves for women+short hair, bony rather than muscular builds for men+long hair) as a concept are much more welcome in high classes than in low classes. Probably as one of the signs of the ruling class decadence or the constant desire of the elites to move as far as possible from the tastes of working class and even the bourgeoisie. So for a typical person of the elite, it seems unlikely that they would care much about the survival of their child based on physical strength, when the high survival chance comes already equipped with the lifestyle of a person from ruling class based in their money and status.

            (I’m not a person of the elite myself, but I can see this trajectory towards androgyny in tastes of the elite throughout history, so I thought I’d point it out).

            Thanks again for your reply.

    • designer says

      There is indeed a biological reason why women try to enhance their beauty and man don`t. Men are more visual than women. Looks trigger an man easily, while women have a dozen triggers that must be played simultaneously. Therefore male beauty doesn’t cut it alone. Proof is porn.

      • Tatiana says


        Yes, just so. But we are talking here about the statistic the author of this article draws from a 100% visual experience. Women swiping left or right, a decision they take mere seconds (if not milliseconds) to make. All I say here is that this millisecond worth of choice can be shifted towards more positive by very simple means on the part of men who desire that.

        It is a fascinating discussion, and I feel people are not digging in it enough, but nowadays I can potentially find sexual (and even marital) partner without actually ever meeting them in person. Most of the interactions between sexes in such ways will shift from socially-performative to visually-performative, no? It’s like we as the dating/mating sphere invest more and more time and effort into advertisements of our goods, not the actual goods. So, whether men are more visually-driven than females, in the world of modern dating, does not matter. The playing field is equal, and so far women are kinda winning, as the author of the article laments so. Which is no wonder, as I tried to claim in my original comment. Women had millennia to learn how to very effectively manipulate solely-visual information about themselves. Men didn’t. So unless they learn how, and soon, they will keep losing in those incomplete-data statistics the author quotes above.

        But I don’t disagree with your assessment about men’s visual perceptions, of course.

        Thanks for talking to me.

    • Harland says

      Physical attractiveness isn’t that important to women. It is, but it’s about #4 on the list. #1 is status and #2 is dominant personality. Men, on the other hand, place physical attractiveness as #1, and #2 is far down the list.

      • Tatiana says

        @ Harland,

        Thank you for your reply. Please see the comments above where I discuss the fact that 1) in modern society such tastes shift which is natural and has always been natural across history. Whenever there is a large societal shift, human tastes will follow sooner or later. And 2) this is an article about visual perceptions of beauty of males vs females. Visual, without other ways to evaluate the potential partner.

        The author of this article complains that there is no equality. I say that the statistics of this article are incomplete, skewed and do not even try to reflect the ways women perceive male beauty and ways in which males are very inefficient with advertising themselves visually compared to women. That’s all.

        All other biological factors in evaluating partners is not the point of the article. Neither it is the point of my original comment. I am well aware of other ways in which males are “attractive” to females, as are all women. But in talking about male attractiveness in terms you would see in a photo posted on a dating App, sorry. I think there is only one way to evaluate that.

        • Phil Major says

          It’s interesting that people assume looks are the only metric with which to gauge the attractiveness of a potential partner on the dating sites mentioned. I appreciate that it is foremost, but certainly not the singular source of information about potential partners.

          “Swipe” apps, typically have brief bios, but many still have bios. OkCupid, which is one of the three cited in the article, is quite different, in that people write long form profiles, where the app assists the creating of deeper profiles via the structure of the profiles themselves (i.e. the boxes you fill in.). OkC also has a many thousands of questions long questionnaire, which the average user answers many dozens of questions from a variety of dating-relevant categories.

          This isn’t to say prior analyses are incorrect for not acknowledging this, just that it’s worth noting since nobody else has really mentioned that people write profiles and bios on their dating apps. We discount the relevance of factors like sense of humor, but that’s one of the easiest character features to communicate via dating app, and, a particular form of humor has become part of the unique experience of dating app users.

        • Deer Pioneer says

          In the last ten years we have already witnessed a huge modification of male aesthetics. Streamlines eyebrows, tattoos wherever (even on the face), nail polish, weird jewelry (possibly with earlobe deformation), dyed hair, elaborate beards, dyed beards, garish clothes, lurid colors, simple make-up like foundation to smooth the skin texture.
          Total-body shaving, elaborate hairstyles, conventional tattoos and jewelry are way older.
          Elaborate make up? I guess it’s a matter of few years from now.

  32. scribblerg says

    The author apparently decided to not read anything on human sexuality and mating strategies before writing this article. Quite common for Quillette, actually…Some necessary facts to begin to understand human mating strategies.

    Female Mating Strategy – Women have what’s known as a “dualistic mating strategy”. They seek both providers who wills stick around for long term mates, and men who display high genetic fitness for short term mating. Their desire is much more engaged by the high fitness male. This is why women are find hooking up with “hawt” men for a one night stand or just hooking up just fine and don’t expect monogamy or anything else from that man, while they torture lower value men and make them wait and lead them on.

    In fact, a common mating strategy today is greatly aided by dating apps and social media. It keeps high value women with a steady supply of “orbiters” who are always ready and willing to help and support them in any way possible in the hopes of having sex. So when Chad the stud flakes on her after he pumps and dumps, she turns to them.

    Female mating strategy has changed a lot since the “Sexual Revolution”. Many young women today (under say 26/27yo) see monogamy as unnecessary and even an unwelcome constraint on their fun. They have been programmed by feminists to “have their wild years” young and then later find a “good man”.

    Male Mating Strategy – Men have one goal – best genetic fitness as indicated by what we find attractive. We aren’t aroused by women with social dominance and intelligence or good jobs etc the way women are. We look for femininity and nubility, which is in abundance in women between say 16 and 26. Call it fecundity.

    All men are most interested in this group of women.

    There is so much more. I suggest reading The Red Queen by Matt Ridley to start. Also Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan.

    Last. The author does focus on a truism. Women all aim up while men will seek to punch their weight. But men can improve their attractiveness with any given women with non-looks factors such as social dominance, strength, intelligence and humor Example: There is an entire subset of women who love very intelligent men, so called Sapiophiles.

    Now don’t confuse money and wealth with social status. I’m talking about social dominance hierarchies. Example: Mark Zuckerberg may be hot stuff when he’s hanging with nerds and may have high socials status. But taking him to a shooting range where some ex specforces guys are and shoot guns? He’s the lowest status man there, women will see the social dominance of the specforces guys and be attracted to them, not him. Money will not trump being high value/fitness.

    Women do select providers for money though, and they end up hating those men because they do not want to have sex with them. This is the problem with monogamy being enforced.

    Low value men should find sex workers, single moms, post-wall gals, etc. They should forget about competing for the young hotties – high value men are running the board with them these days as there is zero social constraint on these young woen acting out on this impulse.

    Funniest? Calling this “inequality” – if you run the analogy in reverse, you’ll realize what a dopey idea it is economically too…

    • Sean says

      “Male Mating Strategy – Men have one goal – best genetic fitness as indicated by what we find attractive.” Actually I think men’s strategy to sleep with any woman who’s willing. We prefer the hot ones, but not that fussy.

      • Hugh Mann says

        “men’s strategy (is) to sleep with any woman who’s willing. We prefer the hot ones, but not that fussy.”

        In a post-pill world, mating and marrying are two different things. Men with choices are still selective about a potential mother for their children.

        • Sean says

          “Men with choices are still selective about a potential mother for their children.” Agreed, but when men are not wanting to have children they’re not that fussy.

    • rickoxo says

      You apparently neglected to read anything not written by someone with almost no understanding of evolution to believe that the “dualistic mating strategy” is anything but current psychological thinking with a few scientific terms thrown around to make it sound impressive or actually scientific. I looked around to find any evidence of what you were talking about and almost every discussion of the dual mating strategy is modern, social science analysis. One article (Pillsowrth & Haselton, 2006 I think) tried to do a more scientific analysis, but failed miserably.

      First, evolution doesn’t operate on recent psychological phenomenon. Brains don’t develop biologically driven instincts over 20,000 years, that is a ridiculously small amount of time to even consider biological adaptation, especially adaptation of something as complicated as an instinct for a complicated mating strategy. Look up the magic number for evolution, most scientists put it around a million years plus or minus a few hundred thousand. Since humans have been around for roughly 200,000 years and we have almost no information on their mating psychology for most of that time, you’re out of luck basing your argument on evolution. You might as well argue that young females “have” a social media preference and say that’s an evolutionary trait.

      Second, if you want to say it’s a cultural adaptation, sure, but think about all the cultures where if/when the woman gets caught she gets killed on the spot. How recently have women had the freedom and control in their lives to pull off this “strategy” successfully? At best this is a cultural, psychological strategy, developed quite recently, in some cultures, and it has nothing to do with evolution.

      The two examples cited in the article of non-human species where females exhibit the dual mating strategy were voles (when the male mates were held in cages by the experimentors) and a variety of woodpecker. Primates don’t do this, wolves don’t do this, large cats don’t do this, I can’t think of a single major mammal group that regularly exhibits anything like this sort of behavior. Male lions are famous for killing a female’s offspring that he plans to mate with.

      If you want to say something like, some western women in recent history have exhibited a dual mating strategy, that sounds good. More likely you should say, social scientists at universities have recently been publishing articles claiming that the dual mating strategy has scientific evidence supporting it. That’s about as strong of a statement as you can make.

  33. Emerald City says

    cool story, but women are people, not a commodity to be redistributed.

    • das monde says

      but apparently “good” men are commodity, while the others are kinda creepy trash?

  34. This makes perfect sense. One of my good friend is this unbelievably good looking actor, and one day while having a beer he pulled up his phone to show me a match on Tinder and scrolled through his matches, with many a swipe to reach the bottom of his matches.

    I, at any given time, have maybe between 3-5 matches, tops.

  35. Jim says

    Tinder matches are based only on looks. Yes, women may also select based on wealth or income, which of course are even distributed and… Oh wait…

    Anyway there are other dating platforms that are based less on looks and that data can be analyzed. I suspect they will nevertheless yield similar Gini coefficients.

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  37. Skeptical Denialist says

    Americans and their obsession with “dating”.
    In the end, people pair up, make babies…world goes on. I don’t see a world with 20% of the men having harems and the rest single all their lives.

  38. Chad Jessup says

    Yes, attractiveness is good, but without love, respect, etc. between two people, looks do not engender a healthy relationship for very long.

    Relationships – now that is an aspect of life primates fail to pursue; so, why compare people to primates.

  39. The word you’re searching for but can’t seem to type out in this article is “Hypergamy”. Next time be brave enough to go against Claire’s sensibilities and call it what it is, just like the Red Pill community has been doing for 18 years now.

  40. Max says

    So, based upon the information laid out within this article, females are overwhelmingly more likely to exhibit the type of superficial, objectifying, sexism typically attributed to their male counterparts.

    • Roy says

      Yes. That’s why patriarchal societies dominate matriarchies. And that’s why matriarchies never invented anything.

      • Max says

        That has absolutely nothing to do with my statement regarding the hypocrisy of the feminist narrative concerning superficiality and objectification.

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  43. Hugh Mann says

    “There are no villains in this story. Nobody can or should be blamed for his or her honest preferences…”

    Now apply that to who you choose to live near you, or have your children go to school with…

    • Max says

      You just had to drag an otherwise interesting article in the shitpit of racism, segregation, etc.

  44. Mack says

    Take a walk down the street and you’ll see literally dozens of repulsive guys with normal women. It’s your atrocious personality.

    No you aren’t entitled to monogamy.
    No you aren’t entitled to be more than a “homework” guy.
    You are a western male, the most well-off creature ever to exist on Earth. Be thankful you are not living on $1 a day and being bombed, like most people.
    Be thankful for what you have.

    • Ted Talks says

      Women on Tinder don’t swipe right for personality.

      Some men are just plain ugly. And according to this article, you have to be pretty attractive to even be noticed.

    • Max says


      Since we in the west aren’t burdened with the same struggles as those in the third world I suppose we should be content with a deterioration of the interpersonal relationship.

      I would bet that if this article had presented figures that cast males in a negative light you wouldn’t be so sententious.

  45. I have a rather superficial question, however, I think one germane to this subject. How come mega-wealthy and powerful men like Zuckerberg and Bezos end up with homely women when they could have a more attractive one? Bezos left his wife and is standing to lose half his fortune for that unfortunate-looking, older Lauren Sanchez woman. What’s the explanation for men like that?

    • Max says

      @D A

      Men have preferences. For whatever reason, their preference is frumpy, homely looking women.

    • Synthetic testosterone replacement.

      Take a low-T beta who was batting under 500 until their 40s, then have them start juicing and add a few zeroes to their bank account. They crash and burn like a one-hit wonder rock band.

  46. Thatsmysecretcap says

    This is all old news to those that read the serious thinkers and if you’re interest is piqued, you should really do some deeper research and reading. One thing I’d like to push back on is the idea that dating app ratings can be used to justify the idea that most women can’t be married to a man they find attractive. First, female attraction is less looks based than male attraction, and I’m not talking about providership. I’m talking about things like humor, intelligence, and a whole bunch of stuff that can be wrapped up in what the kids call big dick energy. The fact that a woman didn’t like a man online doesn’t mean that she couldn’t be infatuated with him in person. Second, hypergamy dictates that female attraction is triggered by the best that a woman can concievably get, which is situation dependant. Male attraction is more go no go. If my lower limit is a 6, the presence of an 8 doesn’t change how attractive the 6 is. If i take a shot and fail with the 8, I’m still fine with the 6. If a woman believes she has a shot with an 8, she will resent the 6 if she has to settle for him. Enforced monogamy has tamed this by preventing women from believing they have access to much more attractive men. Online dating has given women what feels like access to super attractive men, so the normal guys no longer cut it. I think the online dating stuff might be a case of the measurement affecting the experiment.

  47. “The degree of inequality in “likes” and “matches” credibly measures the degree of inequality in attractiveness”

    Attractiveness, though, like so many phenomenon, is probably normally distributed. So a more parsimonious explanation here wrt gender disparate issuance of “likes” is that “sperm are cheap, the egg is expensive.”

  48. Ghatanathoah says

    The problem with using Gini coefficients based on data from dating and hookup apps to draw conclusions about marriages is that marriage and hookups are two different things. If you look at studies about marriage, most of them say either say that marriage is more important to women than to men, or that it is equally important to both sexes.

    I’m not mathematically skilled enough to calculate a Gini coefficient from the data, but I’m betting that it would probably favor men nearly as much as the Gini coefficient from the hookup data favors women.

    The book “Promises I Can Keep,” an ethnography about single mothers in poor neighborhoods supports this. Most of the women have children, but are unmarried. They had no trouble finding a man to knock them up, but could not find any men who were marriage material.

    So the news isn’t quite as dire for men as it first appears. The inequality might be favor women for short term hookups, but when it comes to marriage men are the one with an advantage.

    • Hugh Mann says

      “when it comes to marriage men are the one with an advantage”

      Only in the moment of choosing. From the day the first baby arrives (from the wedding day in some jurisdictions) cash and prizes are available to the woman who decides she’s not happy in the marriage.

      (Do women using OLD sites and right-swiping on the top few desirable men understand/’get’ that a desirable man who’s interested in a hookup (there was another, shorter word for that in my youth) probably isn’t interested in marriage to his Tinderella?)

  49. The evolutionary strategy for young men of average height and attractiveness is quite clear under polygynous gynocracy- join a gang, wreak some havoc, take whatever you can under the long shot hope that you’ll increase your fame, reputation, and wealth enough to raise your mating value.

    This is opposed to monogamous patriarchy, which tames these impulses by at least attempting to offer every man a shot at reproduction. Once again, feminism sows the seeds of chaos, disorder, and its own demise.

  50. <a href=”>She would rather be alone

    “Right now, across the Western world there are millions of very lonely women who will die alone and childless. There are millions of single moms who will at least have their children, but never even get another date as they get fat and grow bitter.

    There are countless Gammas who will wonder why they can’t get a date this weekend, but the above women won’t even give them the time of day. Many of these Gammas would marry a single mom if given the chance so it’s not about that.

    What does this mean? That millions of women would rather die alone, have their cats starve a few weeks later, and their bodies found by a landlord or a friend than spend one romantic moment with a low ranking man.”

    in other words, telling the incels of the world that they just need to pair up with ugly, fat chicks is pointless – the ugly fat women don’t want them! And why would they, when they can go on Tinder and have a chance (minuscule as it is) of 5 minutes with Chad?

  51. I read an interesting study that if a couple had known each other as friends or associates before dating, the attractiveness of the pair could be much different than for a dating site (ie, either party marrying someone much less attractive than expected based on their own attractiveness.
    In real life (not a dating site), people (men but also women) can compensate for their unattractiveness with wit, humor, a good job, being helpful or kind etc.

  52. emanations and penumbras says

    All this is nothing new, and it is sourced from the biological reality that eggs are expensive and sperm is cheap. The only element added here is quantitative analysis to measure the extent to which the condition exists. Cf. “Sex and the Democrats” by Arthur Levine, Harper’s January 1983, a tongue-in-cheek discussion of this subject, and “The New Dating Game” by Charlotte Allen, The Weekly Standard, Feb 2010, a review of the emergence of “game” online culture among frustrated beta males.

    Nevertheless, while human instinct toward polygyny and female hypergamy is deeply rooted, our culture has added a new wrinkle: feminism and socialist child-rearing schemes. Back in the state of nature (to which we are returning, as discussed within) most males weren’t getting any, but at least they weren’t expected to provide for the spawn of those who were. Today with our “it takes a village” mentality, those men are required to do so by our current welfare and taxation schemes.

    And to add insult to injury, the effort by beta males to get laid is now criminalized. Any poor jerk who approaches the wrong girl in school or at work can have his life ruined at her whim.

    This is not going to end well. Look for more George Sodinis, Elliot Rodgers, and Marc Lepines in our future.

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  54. Jon Ashton says

    I always imagine these types of articles are written by a man in his twenties who is not getting any. The idea that sex dies in marriages over the long haul because one party stays hotter than the other is laughably innocent.

    Did a straw poll – walked down town at lunch time and picked out ever couple I could see and noted whether the guy was a superman. Nup, just ordinary non-descript blokes. Hypothesis falsified.

    • Pagent says

      Hardly, you assume that because they are a couple they are having sex? The departure cost of marriage is too high for many people to stomach, or some of them are convinced they are still with “The one” despite dead bedrooms. Marriage does not automatically equal healthy sex life.

    • Hugh Mann says

      “I always imagine these types of articles are written by a man in his twenties who is not getting any.”

      Does he by any chance type them in his mother’s basement, while still wearing pyjamas?

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  56. Peter says

    Search for “Hot Crazy Matrix” on YouTube. The original video had a matrix for men and a separate matrix for women. The video sums it up…

  57. Civilized Barbarian says

    For the fellow readers that point out that the behavior of app users is not representative of the whole population: Your boomer ID card is showing through your words.

    To what kind of phenomena would you attribute such a change in the primal mating strategies of a group that simply decide to exercise them through an app?

    I guess that from now on we should include another group to the scientific research method, the non-app users control group. Because apparently, using apps completely changes a person from the of the populace.

    Election polls? Ok, what the people who don’t use apps are thinking? Cause these boomers here won’t believe in the alien app users.

    Its tragic and repetitive trying to inform parents, family and friends from the older generation that dating in millennial and gen z years its not the same, and that their beautiful liberal, feminist ideals created a nightmare for the current generations. Just like when they say “go to college, get married, buy a house” after having destroyed all of these experiences.

  58. Well, science supports the article as far as it goes but there is rather more science available than what is being described here that clarifies the situation further. Dating apps limit the evidence available to both parties so that the male and female choices are only in a position to appraise certain aspects of mate suitability. For men this doesn’t have too much impact on the distribution of behaviour, hence the reasonably balanced attitude from the man, but for women the whole process has been significantly subverted.

    Women have two mate choice mechanisms representing the two specific “services” they want from a mate. They want to have access to the best genetic material so they can produce superior offspring and, quite separately, they want a life partner who will commit to sharing the costs in time and effort of bringing up those offspring and giving them a good chance in life.

    Monogamy as really about women accepting the trade off of agreeing to have a specific man, not necessarily their best genetic choice, father their children because the benefit of their long term assistance in child rearing is a better deal. Now I’m not saying women consciously appraise this bit it is the scientifically observed behaviour. In fact female behaviour in mate choice has been observed to vary on a day to day basis based on their immediate level of fertility.

    You might want to note that the conflicted choice that women have to make explains why so many genetics studies have had to be abandoned because too many of the children turned out to be unrelated to the purported father (10-20% figures turn up all too often).

    Ultimately dating apps undermine the long term mate choosing process for women more than for men since the evidence they present about potential partners contains more information about what matters to men that about what matters to women.

    As a separate issue there is a potential confounding factor at work in evidence from dating apps that long term partner choice for men who aren’t in that top 20% is likely to be focused on the issue of faithfulness and guarantees of being the genetic father of any children. Men (and women) may consider users of dating apps to be less trustworthy than average and this is likely to bias the user population so it isn’t truly representative. This sort of bias would be hard to measure and therefore we don’t know to what degree the results have been affected.

    I could go on and add more but frankly I can’t be bothered.

    • Hugh Mann says

      “why so many genetics studies have had to be abandoned because too many of the children turned out to be unrelated to the purported father (10-20% figures turn up all too often)”

      Really? Can you give references?

      Turi King and Mark Jobling of the Department of Genetics at University of Leicester called the commonly cited 30% rate of non-paternity an “urban myth”. According to King and Jobling, the figure is around 2%. They also stated that misattributed paternity is often impacted by cultural and socioeconomic factors and that it occurs more frequently among couples who aren’t married. Sociologist Michael Gilding concluded that inflated figures have been circulated by the media, the paternity testing industry, fathers’ rights activists and evolutionary psychologists. He traced many of these overestimates back to a 1972 conference where non-paternity rates as high as 30% were discussed.

      Now admittedly King and Jobling were going back through the generations in their research, when female adultery (if discovered) had negative consequences for the adulteress, consequences which are (de jure if not de facto) non-existent today. But I’d be amazed, given modern contraception, if the rate was five times greater, let alone 15 times.

  59. leyla says

    Interesting article, but it ignores the fact that heterosexual women are less likely to be driven sexually by looks of a potential male partner alone than are heterosexual men. These women may indeed only ‘like’ the photographs of 20% of men, but the very fact that despite this, they respond to 30% of messages suggests that women are more likely to give a chance to men they do not find immediately sexually attractive physically than are men. It is an ancient truism that women find a good sense of humour and kindness extremely sexually attractive in men, whereas the converse is not as often true. There is a biological imperative behind this: in days gone by, and also in evolutionary terms, women traditionally sought a stable mate who could take care of them and their future babies, whereas men were more concerned about finding a healthy, fertile young mate who could bear them lots of babies and who was sexually attractive enough to spur them on to frequent copulations and procreations. For men, biologically, it was about the number of reproductions (passing on their genes), ie quantity. For women, it was about the ability of their partner to protect them and their offspring, ie quality.

  60. leyla says

    NB that should have said ‘despite this, they respond to 30* of messages from men they find less than normally attractive…’

  61. Roadworrier says

    All this article explains in the end is: (a) why so many women turn into lesbians (they find themselves more attractive then men) and (b) why millions of men continue to visit Thailand, Tijuana, and the brothels of Amsterdam and Germany and are willing to pay for something they might have gotten for free 2-3 generations ago.

  62. Paul says

    I think the take-away here for any guy who doesn’t consider himself to be part of the top echelon of physical attractiveness (actually: photogenic-ness)– unless you want to go down the self-pitying “incel” or sociopathic, woman-hating “red-pill” path, your best bet is to spend less time on dating media that emphasize visual appeal, and spend more time cultivating social hobbies or volunteering.

    Women are still out there in the real world, and if their judgment process encompasses traits beyond how well you photograph, your opportunities increase.

    • Hugh Mann says

      “sociopathic, woman-hating “red-pill” path”

      Do red pill people hate women? No expert, but I thought the idea was that “we will see her she really is”, to adapt a phrase. Just as some women have illusions about what’s attractive to men (not career or degrees for example), so do some men have illusions about what women find attractive (obviously we’re talking tendencies/averages here, YMMV).

      A boy’s mother probably loves him more than any other woman ever will, but I was surprised to find that women seemed to respond more positively when I ignored or acted contrary to her helpful advice. Doesn’t mean I hate women.

      Some people discover RP ideas after years, perhaps decades, of doing what they’d been told was the right thing, and being shafted for it. They’re understandably bitter and there IS a lot of hate – imagine losing your children and house along with your SO, in a court system that rewards breaking a contract with cash and prizes. But most come out of the other side.

      • Hugh Mann says

        Damn lack of edit function – sorry about the formatting.

  63. Chad Chen says

    This article reminds me that I am not a typical heterosexual male.

    I find most women unattractive or sexually disappointing, particularly when the face-paint and flattering clothes are removed, i would pay a lot for sex, but only with the most attractive females (the top 1%), and they would have to be certified as disease-free.

    I have no idea why most men marry women who are fat, ugly or don’t bathe just before bed.

  64. Francesc Artigues Cuyàs says

    I have prepared a proposal consisting on a Promiscuity Tax aimed to giving incentives to people to find a couple and remain attached, and to compensate Incels (except fatties or druggies, who will have to quit their poisons first to be eligible for subsidies, hence giving incentives to people to take care of themselves. The fact that people will find a new incentive to be in stable relationships will set the conditions to potentially have more children, will cut superfluous spending on materialistic stuff (trips, cars, useless apps), and even reduce aggregate debt in the long term. I’m sharing it with government authorities in Spain taking advantage of the coming election in this country and will make sure to share it with Western authorities worldwide once I have the English translation of it. It’s the panacea to all the problems the West is suffering.

  65. meerkat says

    Maybe the distribution of attractiveness among men and women differs. For women maybe the distribution really is symmetric and for men it’s lopsided. It would be interesting to redo the same experiment with gay men to see if they view 80% of men as being below medium.

  66. The problem in todays world is that there is so much advertisement bombarded at you 24/7 that your worldview gets all skewed up. Speaking from evolutionary standpoint of view, being able to predict the future was good for survival. So our brain evolved to recognize patterns, and try to represent the world as accurately as possible. It’s constantly updating with new information and it adapts. So when we see these perfect people and perfect lives all the time, the brain thinks that the normal. So the standard got raised for everyone else. This article talks about 20%, I would think it is even less % men.

  67. Francesc Artigues says

    Feminist analysis of the potentialities sexual redistribution has, published after last year Incel attacks. Roughly speaking, the author, an American-English philosopher, comments that in the 80s feminism debated whether sexual freedom should be fully embraced or rather advocate for chastity. It turns that the ones in favor of sexual liberalism won as a result of the pressure coming from LGTBI groups… Current society is the alter ego of a conceited homosexual!

    The writer admits that the potential effects of this sexual liberalism should be a matter of political debate and of concern to feminism due to the inequalities it generates.

    This paragraph is specially relevant.

    “(…) When we see consent as the sole constraint on OK sex, we are pushed towards a naturalisation of sexual preference in which the rape fantasy becomes a primordial rather than a political fact. But not only the rape fantasy. Consider the supreme fuckability of ‘hot blonde sluts’ and East Asian women, the comparative unfuckability of black women and Asian men, the fetishisation and fear of black male sexuality, the sexual disgust expressed towards disabled, trans and fat bodies. These too are political facts, which a truly intersectional feminism should demand that we take seriously. But the sex-positive gaze, unmoored from Willis’s call to ambivalence, threatens to neutralise these facts, treating them as pre-political givens. In other words, the sex-positive gaze risks covering not only for misogyny, but for racism, ableism, transphobia, and every other oppressive system that makes its way into the bedroom through the seemingly innocuous mechanism of ‘personal preference’”

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  70. Phoenix44 says

    Why assume Tinder is a representative sample of men and women?

  71. take_it_easy says

    So Muslims were right all along. Men and women both would be happier with polygyny. It sounds good to me, lets bring back the harems.

  72. Thylacine says

    “..if women collectively believe that most men are unattractive, what grounds does anyone, male or female, have to argue with them?”

    Except that isn’t what the numbers cited indicate. Women erroneously rank 80% of men as “below average” in attractiveness, whereas men accurately rank 50% of women as “below average.” What that shows is that more women than men have unrealistic expectations. That is something we can all take exception to.

  73. (Prof. Emer.) Ferrel Christensen says

    For a “data scientist”, this author seems remarkably unaware of the many sources of statistical bias in his reasoning. Not only is the study-population self-selected, the article itself hints at some biasing factors (and affirms some anthropology that I would challenge strongly). Among these factors is the well-established fact that beauty is universally a more a important factor in attractiveness for males than for females, hence conflating the broader and narrower factors confounds the results. And the admittedly more urgent male sex drive has a large effect on what level of beauty is “good enough” for males in contrast to females. Etc.

  74. Michael Elvin says

    There is a complicator. Most men just have one scale with which they evaluate women. It involves nice boobs, a cute ass, pretty face, etc. Men are childishly simple to understand. Where women– the more complicated sex– have two scales.

    One is a lot like the men. They like the bad boys! Guys with zero mate potential, but are wild and untamable. A fun ride while it lasts. And the other is the boring guy with good earning potential, a likelihood that he will stick around the entire time your children are being raised, and no outstandingly bad personal habits. In a word, good husband material. Responsible, predictable and hopefully not too dull.

    Guys, it’s very important to take a good look at yourself and decide which scale you’re best competing on. If there’s any ambivalence in your mind you’re likely to be losing out on both counts.

    Gals, I know there’s a temptation to conjugate with the one kind and impregnate surreptitiously… while landing the other kind in your web. But please, ladies, resist that temptation. From it can only come harm.


    The other insight is not mine but comes from an article in a college newspaper I read many years ago. I paraphrase.

    Most men want the prettiest, most popular girl in class. But they’re destined to end up unsatisfied… because she’s looking for the handsomest guy in class. You need to be realistic.

    Look at yourself in the mirror, and rate yourself as realistically as you can, against all other men on a ten-scale. Are you really a ten?

    Didn’t think so. Okay, how about an eight? If so, look around at the ladies-in-waiting in the queen’s court. Try getting one of the eights.

    Or maybe you have to say, I’m really kind of dweeby. A five or a six at best. If so, then you know what you have to do. You’ll make out just fine if you alter your expectations of who’s going to find you irresistible. And accept the laws of nature. Fives and sixes can really be a lot of fun, when some sincere attention is showered on them.

    The same advice applies, of course, to you women. Just, please, everyone, nurse no secret resentments. That will be poison for both parties.

    And finally, this rule is unforgiving. Given enough time, a six partnered with a four will find out about who they really are. And the relationship can founder. So know the heck out of thyself. And your partner.

    (Note: this sound advice came out some years before the popular movie series, Revenge of the Nerds. It was ground-breaking in its time.)

  75. Allan M says

    Very thought provoking. An important article and thesis. I think it is going to be difficult to disprove his main thrust.

  76. Joseph Ducreux says

    “Nobody can or should be blamed for his or her honest preferences, and if women collectively believe that most men are unattractive, what grounds does anyone, male or female, have to argue with them?”

    I don’t pity the men, I pity the women with unrealistically high standards all competing for the same “hot” guys, who will ultimately end up lonely and alone with a house-full of cats.

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