Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Attraction is not value

Dr. Helen finds it hard to believe that men aren't attracted to female intelligence or academic credentials:
Just Four Guys has an interesting post up on “Why Women Fail with Men.” The advice basically boils down to: “Be nice. Be pretty. Don’t get fat. Be available.” The author also says: And for the eleventy billionth time: Men are NOT attracted to your job, your salary, your credentials, your professional achievements, or your accomplishments. Burnishing your curriculum vitae will not help you one iota in finding a man for a lasting relationship. Adding initials after your name denoting advanced degrees or certifications will not help you one iota in finding a man for a lasting relationship.

Okay, some of these points make sense but I have to disagree with a few of them, particularly the latter. I think that it depends on what you are looking for in a relationship. If you are a smart, successful women with lots of credentials, there are men out there who like that and actively seek smart women. What men don’t like is a phony who uses her credentials to look important. I think if a woman is smart and successful but down to earth and “real,” there are plenty of men who like those qualities, credentials included.

What do you think?
I think Dr. Helen is wrong. I think it is entirely natural that an intelligent woman with a PhD who is an accomplished writer in a happy and successful marriage finds it very difficult to believe that her husband isn't primarily attracted to what she quite reasonably considers some of her more impressive characteristics. But correlation, as we are so often reminded, is not causation.

The key is to look at the word "attracted". While a man may value a woman's intelligence, while he may value her accomplishments, he is not attracted to them. No man wants to fuck a diploma. It all starts with attraction, physical attraction, birds and bees, tight butts and firm breasts.

Here is the question Dr. Helen and other smart, accomplished women might do well to consider asking themselves. "If I didn't have my intelligence and I didn't have my accomplishments, would my husband be any less sexually attracted to me?" If the answer is no, well, then it should be obvious that while those things may be valued for themselves, they are not the attracting factors. The husbands might value those various attributes and accomplishments, but such things are the icing, not the cake.

I, personally, see high intelligence and academic credentials as an actual disattracting factor. Not all men agree with me, but I am hardly alone. I strongly prefer agreeability and a pleasant personality, and those things tend to be somewhat rare among the well-educated cognitive elite.

46 comments:

Res Ipsa said...

If you are a smart, successful women with lots of credentials, there are men out there who like that and actively seek smart women.

Because it is easier to spot a low millage vigiana for the potential pump and dump.

Trust said...

She confuses likes and attractions. My perfect woman my be a twin of Mila Kunis with a PhD, but I'd prefer a twin of Mila Kunis waiting tables than a twin of Rossanne Barr with a PhD.

Same as how women like flowers, but they'd prefer an alpha giving them skittles over a gamma with roses.

cailcorishev said...

She's confusing desirable traits with attractive traits. I may consciously desire that my wife be (somewhat) intelligent, witty, or talented. That doesn't mean that I'll be the slightest bit attracted to a woman who has those qualities but lacks the physical traits which I find attractive.

I've used the example before of Lindsey Stirling, the violinist. I do appreciate her talent, but the main reason I like watching her is that she's cute as a button and oozes enthusiasm. If she were 300 pounds and grumpy, I'd want nothing to do with her -- for that matter, I never would have heard of her, because she never would have achieved enough success to get on my radar in the first place.

The real test is this: If I started dating Lindsey, and she said she wanted to give up the violin to stay home and raise our babies, would I mind? Absolutely not. As much as I enjoy her playing, taking it away wouldn't lessen her attractiveness one bit. If anything, her putting me ahead of her other interests would increase her attractiveness.

CarpeOro said...

Looking back, I can see the credential bit as a net negative. Women around my age and younger that I dated who had them or were business owners tended to be divorced already. Not a positive sign - shows they didn't know what they were looking for first time around. The focus on career at the expense of marriage at a younger age? Not a positive sign - where is my rank in their priorities? Not likely to exceed third or lower. Two equally attractive women, one immensely successful, top of her field and one that was pleasant but a waitress? Waitress wins. There may be men looking simply for rare sex and rare companionship (you don't get to the top spending time on relationships), but I was looking for regular sex, children and a wife that would want to spend time with them (and me to some extent. I tend to be fairly solitary. I don't need a wife that is the same).

JCclimber said...

Credentials, which are put out there on any venue besides a LinkedIn profile or on a resume, are a sure sign that the woman will be someone I wouldn't be interested in for LTR.

It is associated with snark.
A feeling of superiority.
Credentialism/slavery to the state and certifying agencies.
Feminism.
Extreme hypergamy.

Inebriated women with credentials have pretty much spilled the beans to me over the years on all of the above, but ESPECIALLY the hypergamy and feeling of superiority. It's all icing with no cake, and the icing is the crappy kind that tastes awful.

JCclimber said...

Let's put it another way for Dr. Helen.
Men find physical beauty and sweetness attractive.
Women find accomplishments and status attractive.

Women spending YEARS and 10s of thousands of dollars pursuing accomplishments and status, and thinking this makes them more attractive to men is like:
Men spending years getting plastic surgery, dieting to stay thin, taking classes on being nice guys and sweet, and spending thousands of dollars on male beauty products and treatments. Instead of putting any effort to get accomplishments and status.

Would women really find that type of man attractive? Thin, physically pretty, nice and sweet with not many accomplishments? Because that is what they have accepted as worthy equivalent goals for themselves.

Bob Wallace said...

"Same as how women like flowers, but they'd prefer an alpha giving them skittles over a gamma with roses."

Wrong. I was half-owner of a floral shop - only losers give women flowers.

Trust said...

@bob

Actually I think we agree. I do think women like flowers, they just aren't usually into who supplies them. Losers send flowers in an attempt to win favor. Alphas don't send them bc they don't have to.

yuumuraj said...

I actually left a comment on one of your older posts about this subject this morning. It went something like this:

Without maturity, common sense and self-awareness, high intelligence is just an annoyance -- people use it to rationalize selfish decisions or espouse stupid (but novel) ideas with no basis in reality.

Most women lack the first three qualities, so high intelligence is almost always a negative.


Credentials can also be a red flag because they show the woman's career may take precedence over everything else in her life (could be an issue if you want to settle down).

And although the correlation isn't 100 percent, those credentials are a pretty reliable indicator of traits that men find unattractive in women -- hyper-competitiveness, for example, and insecurity about 'sexism' lurking around every corner.

Trust said...

I've found dumb women to be a burden, but I've also found intelligent women to be a pain, using their intelligence to ex post facto goal post move and be the hamsters counsel

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Tight butt, firm breasts, amiableness, pleasant personality...works for me! Sadly American women by and large lack these attributes.

Credentials, professional success, world travel..these are secondary factors. They can also be red flags.

@Trust ~ I've met Mila Kunis and she is a certifiable bitch.

Trust said...

@Laguna

That's good to know. I have no desire to marry Mila then, but my desire to fuck her is undeterred. ;)

PatrickH said...

Workaholism and careerism are repellent in a woman. Insofar as her accomplishments and credentials indicate even the tiniest possibility that that's what you're dealing with, goodbye boners. Men like smart woman, sure, in the sense that she speaks well, understands your jokes, isn't at sea if the conversation turns to politics or culture. But PhD smarts aren't that kind. And besides, given how many non-STEM programs, esp the ones dominated by women, are actively evil in what they teach women, the more credentialed she is, the more likely she's bad news.

cailcorishev said...

I'm sure it's hard for an intelligent, educated woman to accept that the main thing she has to offer a man is her body, not her mind. Her greatest value as a wife is in her beauty, her fertility, and her willingness to do the menial tasks that turn her husband's house into a refuge for him. Most of what a man needs from a wife can be provided with an 80 IQ and a healthy body.

Now, if she can also give him a good game of Scrabble on a quiet winter evening, that's nice; but it's a fringe benefit, not the main event. A woman with a 110 IQ and several years and massive debt invested in credentials naturally doesn't want to hear that.

Black Poison Soul said...

Attracted to no, value yes.

Good body/genes/looks trumps a smart girl with a swollen head attitude who enjoys parading around a PhD like it were the greatest thing in the world. Real people know that a PhD is nothing more than the ticket to enter the race. What's more important is if she actually raced and how she did at it. Most of these tickets are then revealed to be of little more than an educational equivalent of the "I gave blood" sticker.

He. He. He.

HanSolo said...

I don't find credentials attractive in a woman. I do find intelligence attractive, though it's less important than her looks. I love to have great conversations with women and flat out unintelligent women rarely have the ability or interest in such conversations. The snarky, competitive and I-have-to-always-be-right attitude that some intelligent or credentialed women have is what is really the turn-off. Another aspect is that intellectual curiosity is more important for good conversation than intelligence itself.

So, the ideal for me would be a physically attractive woman who has a fun and sweet personality who is intelligent and intellectually curious. And those personality traits will make me desire a woman more sexually than if she were only physically attractive. The only-physically-attractive woman would still be attractive for casual sex but not for a relationship and she will probably get more male attention, even for LTRs, than a woman who has all the other stuff but is 3 points lower in looks.

As many have pointed out, men may like to have a woman who is intelligent or has a good job because they want a higher material standard of living or don't want to foot the whole bill themselves but that is different than it causing them to be attracted per se.

abf9cb74-8dfc-11e3-af0c-000bcdcb471e said...

"I strongly prefer agreeability and a pleasant personality, and those things tend to be somewhat rare among the well-educated cognitive elite."

This is an ad hominem "guilt by association" logical fallacy. You're unattracted to a disagreeable personality NOT education.

Markku said...

Ad hominem is only a logical fallacy if it is used in order to distract while evading an argument. An insult is not an ad hominem in the fallacious sense. Even if it is used in response to an actual argument, IF you also answer the argument.

It is perfectly legitimate to screen for bitchiness by rejecting anyone with credentials out of hand. After all, you don't have time to investigate every woman.

Dexter said...

If you are a smart, successful women with lots of credentials, there are men out there who like that and actively seek smart women.

If you are a smart, successful women with lots of credentials, and you are a fat ugly beast, forget it, there are few men for you. Prepare yourself for a life with cats.

Contrast this with the male situation -- if you are short and ugly, but you have credentials and thus status and money, why yes there are plenty of women out there for you.

mickeypavic said...

Although attraction is not value in the marriage market value holds a place, it is the modern equivalent of a dowry.

It may seem anachronistic but the different bargaining powers of the sexes still governs the marital market, dowries and bride price (or their modern equivalent) are still an intrinsic part of the marriage market.

High value men (high bargaining power) are relatively rare and for the most part still expect a dowry for the cost of a wife, family investment in female education and her resultant higher income is the dowry equivalent. This is clearly evident in the UMC where high value men pair off with women who have the equivalent of a dowry. Whether it is a 1/2 million dollar lump sum or the employment equivalent, it is for the most part the family's investment in the daughter that provides the benefit.

Of course even in this intra market attractiveness trumps the dowry price, so the uglier the woman the higher the dowry.

Generally across the board (below the UMC) women have higher bargaining power than men and the men are generally expected to pay a bride price. In this market women have very little incentive to develop marriageable qualities (alpha fucks beta bucks) while men are still expected to pay a bride price via looks, social prowess and employment.

No fault divorce is a function of higher female bargaining power and is a retrospective bride price, government policy is deliberately aimed at increasing female bargaining power at the expense of male bargaining power.

Of course the highest value a man holds is looks, virginity and youth, in the West only the highest of high value men can pay that bride price, even the UMC must be content with an aging used up woman with a good supplemental income.

tz said...

English has its limitations and ambiguities.
CS Lewis had a radio series called "The Four Loves".
The unfortunate victim can provoke storge.
What Vox calls "attraction" is eros
You can be friends philea - this is not "friend zone"
Or what makes a marriage or otherwise is the highest form is agape.

Back in the Christendom era, men and women were taught to value and to be attracted to - at the higher levels - virtue. Your animal self will want a bunch of things, many are harmful.

On that topic, the obese which many here would shame are "attracted" to food in exactly the same way and the same parts of the brain as men are "attracted" to shapely women.

Why is it shameful to be fat but not to be philandering? When they demonstrate the same lack of temperance, prudence, and fortitude? The cardinal sins may differ, but they are still cardinal sins.

cailcorishev said...

No one said it's shameful to be fat -- it might be, but that's not the point. It's unattractive on a woman, and if a woman isn't attractive, a man isn't going to want to marry her, no matter how wonderfully virtuous she might be. The main reason for a Christian man to marry is to licitly have sex, so why would he marry a woman he doesn't desire sex with?

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buzzardist said...

Dr. Helen might discover a different experience if, say, she were fat. Her husband, Glenn Reynolds, talks no small amount about admiring his wife's accomplishments, but then he's at least as accomplished as, if not more so than, she is, and he talks plenty about how hot she is. Someone with all of Dr. Helen's accomplishments and intelligence who weighed 200 pounds would find it very hard to attract a husband.

Yes, there are a few men who probably are attracted to intelligence over looks or potential as a mother. But these men are extremely rare. A few more, having failed to attract a beautiful woman themselves, may settle for a less attractive woman, professing that what matters is looks, but these men are probably not great catches themselves.

If a woman thinks she's going to find her husband from the former segment of the male population, she needs to realize that she's hunting among less than 1% of men and that she will probably end up with a man who pretends to love her intelligence, but who actually is just a loser who couldn't attract someone beautify, and thus who turns himself and his relationships into total shams to cover his own failures.

In the mating dance, a woman is much better off displaying her figure, her household skills, her mothering skills, etc. Intelligence only becomes attractive if she's got at least some of these other things going for her already.

Many women will bristle at such an assessment, but in all my life (which includes over a decade in academia where one would expect to find a lot of men attracted to intelligence), I think I've found perhaps only two or three men who did not, when they spoke with other men, boast first about any number of other qualities in a wife or girlfriend, starting with looks, before mentioning intelligence. If a man mentioned intelligence about a woman as her leading quality, this was either because he was not sexually attracted to her or because doing so was the equivalent of taking a cold shower.

LibertyPortraits said...

Spot on analysis. I don't care about whether or not my wife can discuss Rothbard's "Man, Economy, and State" with me so long as she wears clothes that show off her physique. I don't know if I've ever met a highly intelligent woman who wasn't also completely irritating. A lot of smarter women forget how annoying we all find dorky know-it-all men to be, and then fail to make the connection that their acting in such a way does not foster any sexual attraction.

Brad Andrews said...

My wife still commonly mistakes attraction with "what I like." Something may be appealing, but may not make one attractive to your spouse.

Noah Saenger said...

After a dearth of intelligent women, they really start to look appealing. Obviously the credentials don't really speak for anything though.

JP said...

What I want isn't a "smart" woman. What I want is a witty woman. You can't have wit without intelligence, but you can have intelligence without wit. Or at least if you define "intelligence" as having a degree in East African Womyn's suffering and lesbianism.

Johann Grabner said...

Men could very well be attracted to physical attributes only but they are not marrying them anymore. Assortative mating has been on the rise since the 70s and this accounts for roughly half of the gain in household income inequality: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19829.pdf?new_window=1

was it the boss marrying the secretary or the doctor marrying the nurse in 1970, today it's the laywer marrying the laywer and the dentist marrying the dentist.

Of course we are talking about "lasting relationships" and here earning power is a attractor in a women for a lot of men as the evidence shows.

APL said...

Johann Grabner: "was it the boss marrying the secretary or the doctor marrying the nurse in 1970, today it's the laywer marrying the laywer and the dentist marrying the dentist."

What you describe is simply attachment to the nearest qualifying ( for a man, read pretty and available ) candidate. It doesn't really give any insight as to the male Dentist selecting his mate on the basis of the dental qualification, simply that she is 'fit', and in close proximity.

From the female perspective, attaching herself to a laywer or dental practitioner makes eminent sense within the frame of hypergamy.

Doom said...

A degree in anything means a woman has been tainted by feminism. To what degree you can never know. A degree is poison. I am not sure if the sciences, where they were very possibly a quota entrance and pass, or the soft sciences or worse, where there is absolutely no objectivity involved, is the worst. Knitting for socialist engineers, really, is what most course women take could be considered.

And, a smart woman? If she can keep me, handle her passions, raise some kids, and manage a home? She is smart. If she has gone to college, she is planning to live her own life already. She is married to her education by cost and pains and is devoted to that first love, and the early free sexual access that young women have, then lose.

I'd like to see a breakdown of divorce probability between college educated and not. I'll be looking for a better study, one that has actually be vetted by people truly interested in facts. Almost impossible to find these days. Screw college educated women, but don't marry them.

Some dude said...

@Dexter

You are wrong. Mark Zuckerberg is decent looking, normal height, and a billionaire who started the most successful social media platform to date. He is currently married to a fat Korean chick who uses him as an accessory.

You want to work hard and achieve both for yourself and the approval of your brothers. But while I am no Pua, I am beginning to see that the women care a lot less about what you do,to then about about how you present it

buzzardist said...

Johann Grabner said...
Men could very well be attracted to physical attributes only but they are not marrying them anymore. Assortative mating has been on the rise since the 70s and this accounts for roughly half of the gain in household income inequality: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19829.pdf?new_window=1

was it the boss marrying the secretary or the doctor marrying the nurse in 1970, today it's the laywer marrying the laywer and the dentist marrying the dentist.


Men are marrying the same women as before. It's just that those women have aspired to long-term professional careers instead of short-term jobs for while they are single and childless.

For the early couples in the 1960s and 1970s who did this, it was an economic boost for them. Even if the woman's salary was slightly lower, they were getting nearly double the income, which was substantial. As more women followed the path, seeing the economic prosperity that the few achieved, wages dropped. Eventually, even women who would not otherwise have wanted to work were forced to because a husband's salary was no longer enough.

And those lawyers, doctors, and dentists that are marrying each other? The women don't tend to be slovenly and fat in most cases. Quite the contrary.

buzzardist said...

You are wrong. Mark Zuckerberg is decent looking, normal height, and a billionaire who started the most successful social media platform to date. He is currently married to a fat Korean chick who uses him as an accessory.

Ummm...what does this prove? First, while Zuckerberg's wife could lose 10 or 15 pounds without looking sickly and gaunt, she is far from fat and unattractive. Second, Zuckerberg was dating since before he became a billionaire, and there is something to be valued among rich men looking for mates that a woman isn't just looking to cash in. Third, there are scores of counter-examples that, even if Zuckerberg fit your description, suggest otherwise. The Kim Dotcoms of the world are plenty.

Long Lost Friend said...

It's interesting to see that Dr. Helen, who "gets it" on almost everything else, still gets hung up on the idea that what women sometimes value in themselves are at best secondary to a man.

My fiancée has a graduate degree and I respect that about her, but she knows that it is her looks and her Red-Pill disposition that are the "deal-makers" for her. My list of "non-negotiables" does not include education, or even brains.

Still, it does give her pause when I tell her that I would still be just as attracted to her if she had the same looks and personality and she were working as a cashier at Target or a waitress at a diner.

(By the way, you can substitute "education/career" with just about anything else the typical woman will put on a dating site profile. I do not want you more because you have been to the Taj Mahal or because you are a foodie or because you did a tour in the Peace Corps. I want a woman, not a résumé.)

Markku said...

I want a woman who I am comfortable with leaving on her own for a few weeks when I'm busy, without having to fear that she has destroyed our lives with the power of sheer idiocy when I come back. Anything above that in terms of education or intelligence is just meh.

Paradoxically, when that education or intelligence goes high enough, the risk actually starts to INCREASE again. Although the manifestations of that idiocy are different.

CarpeOro said...

"Johann Grabner said...
Men could very well be attracted to physical attributes only but they are not marrying them anymore. Assortative mating has been on the rise since the 70s and this accounts for roughly half of the gain in household income inequality: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19829.pdf?new_window=1

was it the boss marrying the secretary or the doctor marrying the nurse in 1970, today it's the laywer marrying the laywer and the dentist marrying the dentist."

Anecdotal perhaps, but I a midlevel IT guy (making 6 figures some years, a bit less others) and married a nurse. Have you met many women that work in IT? Even at large corporations, the only ones I've had any interest in dating were on the Help Desk... no where near my league for earnings.

Retrenched said...

For men, things like this fall onto "list B" - I.e. things that may be nice to have in potential mates you already find attractive, but not attraction triggers in isolation.

Copyleft said...

This article raises an important distinction between "value" in a romantic/sexual sense, and "value" in other areas of life.

A woman who's a skilled and knowledgeable investment counselor has value IN HER OFFICE and TO HER CLIENTS... but that doesn't make her romantically attractive. A woman who's an Olympic-level skier has great value AS AN ATHLETE... but that doesn't make her romantically attractive either. A woman who's a top-ranked oncologist obviously has enormous value to her patients and to society at large... but only a fool would expect to be told "Hey, thats one sexy board certification you got there, honey."

A woman's romantic/sexual value is not determined by her degrees and professional skills, no matter how impressive they may be in another context. It's determined by looks and personality, period.

Doom said...

I knew she would turn out to be a typical cunt. Like nigers, a few minutes to a few hours and they show their true skin.

Tarrou said...

I smell humblebragging. Anyone seen a picture of this woman? And a picture of her husband? All I'm saying is the good professor Reynolds must have some solid game, because she is well out of his physical league. And when she was in her early 20s? She'd have been even hotter. As for being attracted to intelligence, no. Men are attracted to ass. Some men won't commit to a retard, but that's not about attraction.

Unknown said...

That is it isn't it. High intelligence isn't a deal breaker or greatly attractive, but being an unpleasant argumentative bitch is unattractive and that appears correlated with at least certain sorts of higher education.

John Rampton said...

Credentials aren't icing on the cake. They're those cute pre-fabed decorations on the cake that taste like plastic. Icing will generally enhance the cakes flavor, not detract from it

AjaxMurgatroyd said...

Let's not confuse intelligent with educated. I like intelligent women. Educated women, however, tend to be feminists, which is a boner killer.

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