Biased Courtship

As we discussed recently, courting men seem too optimistic about their chances, while women seem too pessimistic about male intentions.   Some explain these as due to high male benefit from mating success, and high female cost of poor mating.   But why didn’t evolution just encode this in the strength of our desires, instead of in our perceptions of chances?

The explanation that occurs to me is that these biases hide our low motives.  Men willing to bother women even though those men didn’t honestly think they had much of a chance would seem rude, selfish, and desperate.   Women willing to reject almost all men while admitting those men had mostly good intentions and would provide enjoyable company would seem arrogant and selfish.  Our biased beliefs help us retain our image as concerned about the interests of others, and not too desperate or arrogant, while actually being very eager (men) and picky (women).

This seems a good test case for my claim that it is easier to resolve your hypocrisy by admitting to low motives than by honestly acting with high motives.  Will you idealist men stop bothering women, or you idealist women stop rejecting men?

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