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Sex, Nerds, and Entitlement
In Should Bad Boys Win, the question arose of whether the legendary "nice guys" who finish last, are actually nice. Several commenters proposed that "nice guys" feel entitled to sex, and are liars.
It does appear to me that many older and more bitter nerds do feel entitled to something. This sounds like a turn-off; but according to the seduction community and other repositories of male wisdom such as Richard Feynman, one of the main effective strategies for attracting women is learning to project entitlement: To convey that you expect a woman to wish to have sex with you.
I normally have fairly low regard for evolutionary psychology, especially post-hoc. But here it seems to fit the bill really nicely; so I’m going to speculate a bit on what entitlement might signify in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness.
Displaying feelings of sexual entitlement would have been, in a tribal setting, a strong signal of dominance and actual access to sex. These traits would be associated with genes valuable in male offspring provided that either the father could be convinced to provide resources or the environment was such that they did not need to. It might also indicate that it was physically dangerous to refuse him sexually, and relatively socially safe to accede.
In contrast, displaying feelings of thwarted entitlement would be a huge neon warning sign of low fitness.
Not only does this guy not have high status, his systems for judging his own status are broken. This is a hugely costly defect. Association with him may be dangerous both physically and socially, prior to his impending demise. Big red letters are flashing KEEP AWAY.
But how did nerds originally become bitter? By being ignored by women? Then why would women ignore them before they became bitter?
Suppose that middle-class American men are told, at an age too immature to examine parental commands critically: "In dealing with women, be X, Y, and Z" where X, Y, and Z are instructions like "Only express sexual interest in those women who you are confident are interested in you, prior to that, always be polite." And middle class American women are told, in a similar fashion, "In choosing a man, look for politeness and respectful non-sexual behavior."
So far, so good. The message is consistent.
But when women grow up, they find that they aren’t attracted to the men they were told to look for. Maybe they believe, with reason even, that such men are ‘boys’, not ‘men’, and find this unattractive (ultimately because it was and still is evolutionarily unfit). Instead, most women spurn the timid advances made by the ‘nice guys’ they think they should prefer. But since they believe they should be choosing such men, they also decide that the men they reject cannot be the type they were told to prefer. This may explain why ‘nice guys’ might end up labeled ‘liars’.
In this model, the nerd’s sense of thwarted entitlement comes from recognizing that he has the traits X, Y, and Z that authority figures told him to display and that women claim to want – which does nothing to change the fact that feelings of thwarted entitlement for ANY reason are extremely unattractive.
In this model, masculine attractiveness requires recognizing that:
A) The rules that one is taught as a boy are simplified rules for boys, and some of them must eventually be discarded once you figure out better rules.
B) The real rules require you to give lip-service, when in mixed company, to the rules for boys.
Nerds tend to be literal, to lie infrequently, to greatly resent being lied to, and to not adjust their behavior based on information their brains have not yet verbalized.
Nerds are also reluctant to behave hypocritically, e.g. by verbally condemning a behavior while engaging in said behavior. If this is what is socially demanded of them, they will be unhappy with the situation.
As a result, they may never become men in the relevant sense.
The situation with ‘nice guys’ seems to parallel that with ‘atheists’ perhaps half a century ago, when almost everyone in polite society acknowledged God, but didn’t live like they believed in God. Today, almost everyone claims that certain behaviors are proper in men, but most don’t live like they believe this. It was primarily emotionally inept nerds who found it necessary to vocally advocate atheism in the past; and today it is mostly emotionally inept nerds who find it necessary to vocally advocate realistic methods for attracting women.
People who are general outliers in the relationship of anticipation to verbalized belief, that is, people who actually believe in things that other people only believe in believing, may critically need a more sympathetic (and less arrogant) view of the relationship between verbal symbols and real behavior. Just as we don’t want to see men or women as defective women or men, we also may not want to see non-nerds as defective nerds. Their success in achieving their goals would suggest that they are not.