I find myself in the embarrassing position of having generated a theoretical insight for a movement I don’t respect very much.
My feelings about the “Red Pill” movement are a lot like my feelings about feminism. Both started out asking important questions about why men and women treat each other badly. Early on, both began to develop some answers that made sense. Later, both movements degenerated – hijacked by whiny, broken, hating people who first edged into outright craziness and then increasingly crossed that line.
But the basic question that motivated the earliest Red-Pill/PUA analysis remains: why do so many women say they want nice guys and then sexually reward arrogant jerks? And the answer has a lot of staying power. Women are instinctive hypergamists who home in on dominance signaling the way men home in on physical pulchritude. And: they’re self-deceivers – their optimal mating strategy is to sincerely promise fidelity to hook a good-provider type while actually being willing to (a) covertly screw any sexy beast who wanders by in order to capture genetic diversity for their offspring, and (b) overtly trade up to a more dominant male when possible.
(This is really complicated compared to the optimal male strategy, which is basically to both find a fertile hottie you think you can keep faithful and screw every other female you can tap without getting killed in hopes of having offspring at the expense of other men.)
What I’ve figured out recently is that there’s another turn of the vise. Sorry, nice-guy betas; you’re even more doomed than the basic theory predicts.
There’a a social-status component to the female game; using it to compete for the attention of fit males. Women are very, very concerned with how their mating value is perceived by others in their social group – they will take extreme measures all the way up to plastic surgery to boost it. Also, female mating value is increased by social status, even though status is not as overwhelmingly important as for males.
Some time back, I tripped over someone else’s realization that this gives women an incentive to be publicly cruel when they reject suitors.
A man courting a woman is implicitly making a status claim: I am good enough for you – in Red Pill terminology, my SMV (sexual market value) meets or exceeds yours. Because other women use male attention to measure SMV and status, such a claim can be threatening to its target because, from a low-status male, it threatens to lower her status, especially if she accepts it.
A woman can deal with this by not merely rejecting a man she evaluates as not being worthy, but publicly insulting him for trying. “How dare you think you’re good enough for me?” is different from a simple “Not interested” because it’s a status defense.
Thus, hot chicks are systematically cruel to beta nerds. It’s a way of socially protecting the proposition that their SMV is high enough to capture a real alpha, and their status among peers.
But – and here’s my insight – it’s even worse than that.
Consider two cases. Bob is slightly lower status than Alice. Ted is much lower status than Alice. Both of them court Alice. She doesn’t think either has SMV to match hers, so her response is to reject both. But: Which one is the bigger status threat?
No, it’s not Ted. The status difference between him and Alice is quite visible to her peers; he can be easily dismissed as just nuts for pitching out of his league. Bob, on the other hand, may look plausible – and the closer to good enough he looks, the more likely it is that the status claim he makes by courting Alice will adjust her status downwards among her peers.
So it’s Bob who will get the cruel, status-defensive rejection, not Ted.
That’s right, guys – being in her league, or nearly so, increases the chance that she’ll have to be nasty to you to protect her game position. The well-spoken, decently groomed nerd is going to get it in the neck from popular hot chick the worst.
However, this analysis does present actionable advice. Because being Bob – being nearly good enough – also increases your odds of being able to raise the SMV she perceives just enough to connect. The advice is: don’t be a social threat. Pitch her privately, not publicly. Give her deniability on your status claim.
At the very least this will give her room to consider whether she likes you without being socially panicked about being seen with the wrong guy.