Humans have traits leading them to find some features more attractive than others. Adaptationist researchers have typically adopted the working hypothesis that perceiver traits are adaptations—evolved as a result of their having benefits for perceivers, generally speaking, tendencies to be attracted to particular traits in individuals of the opposite sex are presumed to have benefited their bearers because individuals’ own reproductive success (or that of their offspring) is affected (or, more precisely, was affected ancestrally) by qualities of the individuals with whom they mate. In broad terms, evolutionary biologists delineate two types of benefits that mates provide: first, genetic benefits to offspring—i.e., endow offspring with superior ability to survive; second, material benefits to the perceiver such as food, care for offspring, physical protection for self or offspring, or avoidance of disease. Individuals disposed to mate with others who enhanced their own fitness would have, ceteris paribus, out-reproduced those not so disposed. Hence, selection may have favored dispositions to be attracted to mates who possessed qualities that signal (or ancestrally signaled) delivery of benefits. Many of people’s tendencies to find specific features attractive are outcomes of this kind of historical selection. Once individuals of one sex prefer particular qualities, the preferences exert selection pressures on the preferred traits. Individuals who possess preferred traits, by virtue of their enhanced ability to exercise choice in a mating market, have greater reproductive success. Selection hence leads individuals to expend energy and time to display favored traits. Preferences and the traits they prefer coevolve.
As I tried to explain on my previous post, human females aren’t that different than males with respect to their mating criteria, in that their choices are strongly weighted for physical features (and always exclusively aesthetic signs on their short-term criteria). The danger is that these scammers pretend to be benefactors creating a pseudoscience who “supposedly” have nothing to gain from dispensing their “knowledge” (onto some unwary men); while they are making their business (peddling advice-tricks on books, DVDs, seminaries) and gain fans and traffic to their websites.
A prototypical PUA is a male who seeks to be successful at ‘seducing’ women. ‘PUA’ is not a category label given to the individual, but is one that he claims for himself within an existing PUA Community of Practice. A common community belief is that the means of seduction are not rooted in physical attractiveness, but in verbal interaction, confidence and behavioral traits displaying dominance. But despite what many would have us believe, mere words and body-language (or other absurd contrivances) are rarely the determinate factor (when removed from other variables). And of course, women aren’t any more susceptible to cryptic seduction techniques, than are males. Moreover females are not attracted to certain rogue behaviors (abuse, delinquency, etc) per se, but rather it is a case that these behaviours sometimes are correlated with male physical attractiveness – which is the *real* variable we are often observing (except in special cases where material resources become a deciding factor, like in prostitution.
It is also important to appreciate that what females deem as physically attractive, and what males ‘suppose’, are often disparate quantities (even though there is plenty of instructive data out there to reconcile the two).
As I have said before – there are only two quantities of value females consider in mate choice, genetic benefits (indicated in physical attractiveness), and direct benefits (indicated in investment strategies with respect to material resources, and paternal investment). So, the onus is upon the ‘game’ community to unify agreement with either of these quantities (beyond a circular argument). And there are obvious reasons why physical traits are an obvious confounder of ‘seduction’ competencies (ie. because relative deviations in physical characters can reliably signal developmental incompetence, from which sensory biases become fixed by evolutionary success). In order to advance a similar argument (unified in a broad evolutionary synthesis) for vague (independent) seduction competencies (ie. ‘Game’), this scammers would have to show their basis in evolutionary success beyond a circular argument (ie. how did female bias for these seduction systems *evolve* – what advantages did they confer *before* they became correlated with male reproductive success).
Until gamers can show this, they are leaning on naive premises (and, dare I say, unmitigated bullshit). Game’s core premise relies upon ‘confidence’ (given the ‘congruence’ apology that is regularly appealed to when game techniques/methods are demonstratedly falsified). The parsimonious interpretation is that ‘confidence’ is a dependent variable, adapted from justified expectations (with a basis in some history of prior outcomes). In other words: confidence is the subjective consequence of an ‘expected value’ – derived of an obligate heuristic motif. But, correlation does not imply causation. So, ‘confidence’ doesn’t just spontaneously organize within an empirical vacuum, and thus cannot be trivially acquired outside of ‘experience’.
So, what gamers (and their apologists) are truly observing (but apparently not intelligent enough to infer), is not that women are attracted to ‘confidence’ per se (as an independent variable). But, rather that the men who tend to be successful with women in the first place (for whatever reason), also have a high confidence (justified expectation) of future (continued) success. By any meaningful definition, confidence is not an a priori quantity – it cannot be disentangled from its dependencias. Confidence exists only so far as to say something about these other variables. So, when one observes confidence correlated with a given outcome, it can only say something about these dependencies.
Game is largely a myth – a popular fiction synthesized to embellish male success with a basis in real quantities of evolutionary value. Trivial observations that seemingly confirm ‘game’, are observing nothing more than spurious correlations. The quest for a practically learned skill that can ‘bend’ female choice is a fools errand, because in order for evolution to work opportunistically, it must cull (in particular) male frequencies every generation.
On the other hand, it occurs that since there are only two *conflicting* quantities of evolutionary value in consideration of female mate choice (those implied in short-term and long-term mating), then game, even undefined, must address one or the other (but not both). And, I think it is uncontroversial to say that ‘game’ is popularly appealed to in terms of short-term mat The quest for a practically learned skill that can ‘bend’ female choice is a fools errand, because in order for evolution to work opportunistically, it must cull (in particular) male frequencies every generation. So, a problem occurs in the observation of ‘naturals’ (an accepted premise of game convention) – demonstrating game as a behavioral phenomenon of ‘handicapping’ load (via the handicap principle), rather than some cryptic fitness indicator. From that perspective, ‘game’ doesn’t sound very flattering.
To elaborate – in applying the ‘handicap principle’, it tells us that those whose success threshold is lower in terms of ‘game’, are displaying greater indications of genetic fitness, given that this greater effort will allude to a fitness handicap. This is because fitness signals have evolved to be energetically costly to display, where the quality of signals are handicap limited – where these handicaps can be manifest through differentials in observable ‘effort’ (or any other kind of relative energetic liability). What game really is, is a display of sexual confidence – which is circular to it’s justification (ie. those who are justifiably confident of continued future success, need expend less effort – in terms of handicapping – in trying to embellish themselves through ‘game’).
But, since game is not a ‘skill/trait’, liable to be adaptive, but rather a system of knowledge, the question is not whether or not it ‘works’ so much as which parts of this system are justified, and which parts are spurious. An adaptative signal must to honestly convey quality. For a signal to be a valid indicator of male quality at equilibrium, a reliable relation between the signaler’s quality and the signal strength must persist.
It assumes that individuals of the choosing sex (females) with a sensory bias non-adaptively applied to mate choice pay a cost for it, and, hence, have lower reproductive success than those who are “resistant” to the bias. Both men and women discriminate the desirability of potential mates mainly on the basis of physical qualities. Any prefered feature has to be correlated with quality prior to their evolution as signals. Again, honest signaling of quality can evolve hrough either benefits that directly enhance eproductive success (e.g., food, protection, ack of contagious disease) or genetic benefits assed on to offspring. In some instances, both ay account for the preference. For instance, ales in a multi-male primate group better ble to rotect offspring than others and ence providing direct benefits to choosers ay well possess genes associated with quality as well.
Female preferences (i.e. choice bias for sexier guys) coevolve with male sexual signals (i.e. male good genes); it makes no sense that some behavioral techniques (e.g. neuro-linguistic programming) had ever been developed to exploit non-existing female “sensory bias”. The evolution of female preference must be promoted by genetic covariance. And selection for the male sexual trait will cause a proportionate increase in female preference and both traits will increase together in a runaway. As I said “Game” would be a sort of knowledge system, not a phenotypic trait onto which directional sexual selection can act. Moreover selection on phenotypes will have no evolutionary consequence if the traits do not genetically covary with fitness. The nature of this genetic covariance determines if phenotypes will evolve directionally or whether they reside at an evolutionary optimum.
And what evidence is there that ‘dominance’ is the determinant of female sexual choice?
In fact, there’s quite alot of evidence falsifying this premise. Furthermore, where mate access is no longer a function of subordinate status concessions in prevailing human populations (compared to the way it works in smaller populations typical of early hominid ‘troops’, and those of other primates), dominance can say nothing about its distribution (given that density dependence means large populations have marginalized mating concessions to a negligible quantity).
I would also like to address the whole spurious ‘alpha-male’ meme which no longer describes status interactions within prevailing human societies. This is because, in large organized populations (as opposed to small ‘troops’), network reciprocity marginalizes the influence of dominant males through the net ‘inclusive fitness’ contributions of status inferiors. In small ‘in-groups’ (ie. typical of early hominid ‘troops’), there is a strong quid-pro-quo dynamic that facilitates status concessions in favor of a dominant male (as the success/prosperity of the group is more strongly weighted for individual competencies).
In large co-operative populations, the contributions of any single male become increasingly marginal (as do the status concessions in terms of the limiting resource in ecologically prosperous male populations – sex). Hence the contemporary fixations on mating status in stratifying male ‘rank’ (a sense which ignores the broader ethological context which formed the basis of the ‘alpha’ convention). The point is that male dominance in small vs. large (co operative) populations entails subtle, but material differences (ie. density dependence), that no longer describe human status interactions in large, cooperative populations. So, the whole ‘Alpha male’ meme is a spurious concept when applied to human mating practices (in contemporary human societies), where mate access is no longer a function of subordinate status concessions.
‘Game’ is entirely dependent on other ‘gina-tingling’ variables that have nothing to do with game – it is *not* a proxy for attraction. So, all ‘game’ can conceivably do, is ‘maximize’ a man’s opportunities on a case by case basis (no Gina tingle, no ‘game’ optimization opportunities). Dominance simply doesn’t factor into this assessment, in any shape or form (beyond spurious, tingle-mediated attribution affects). Game merely tries to indoctrinate males on how to establish psychological leverage (by bluffing females, and learning to appreciate subtleties in female duplicity). Ergo, for the vast majority of low (mating) status males, it is game of negligible value.
Gamers also believe that they can resort to “peacocking” (or any other outrageous act) to get attention and try to bang girls. Wearing something stupid or act in a way that just seems quite ridiculous are phenotypic honest signals of genetic quality? Think about it. May a person compensate a lack of physical attractiveness displaying a non-biologic signal (i.e. wearing quirky clothing)? The optimal male phenotypic is the one that maximizes net benefits under the constraints. For instance, female optimal strategies are contingent on the male condition or phenotype of the individual (conditional or phenotype limited optima). Less appealing males are culled in mating courtship, and for reasons others than his phenotype. Selection is on phenotypes, (because genotypes are masked). Guys ostentatiously dressed are not hiding their phenotype, and they cannot reverse the preferential bias for certain male phenotypes, since each sex has a bias to prefer individuals of particular qualities because that bias has advantages.
I would also like to question ‘shit-testing’, as any kind of a fitness test. In order for a fitness test to be reliable, it must screen for ‘honest’ signals. And in order for a signal to be ‘honest’, it must entail high and differentiable costs while communicating some quantity of evolutionary/fitness value (thus, resisting falsification). The problem with the shit-test-as-a-fitness-test, theory, is that it fails to specify what quantities of evolutionary value a shit-test is effective in screening for (in a way that eliminates obvious confounders). Is it a question of energetic investment? If so, then the successful negotiation of these ‘tests’ should be strongly mediated by differential investment in a ‘particular’ female (and thus begs the question of why ‘stalking’ is not seen as a fitness display). Or, is it ‘wit’, or general sociality? If so, then this theory likewise begs for a more rigorous test methodology to support it (given that shit-testing is not obviously suited to screening for sociality in a way that incurs enough cost to justify its relative scrutiny).
It occurs, that shit-testing is not a test at all, but is either a strategic bluff in embellishing female sexual value (in context of a male approach).
Or, an expression of resentment in being entangled in a LTR, which poses obvious trade-offs in short-term goals (ie. she resents having a long-term mate who ‘tingles’ her less than other prospective mates). Thus, I believe that many cases where a husband purports to be successfully ‘gaming’ his wife, is nothing more than a spurious observation in ego validation (ie. after a period of anxiety and ambivalence over conflicting, time-variant, evolutionary concerns, *she* makes a value-judgment to preserve his long-term investment at the cost of *obvious* extrapair mating/carousel riding). And this all underscores my main issue with game, in that it has an unfortunate tendency to circulate fashionable *nonsense*, at the expense of knowledge (even amongst those in the manosphere who, I would think, should know better).
I mean, if you want to appreciate the subtleties of probability and statistics, should you necessarily inquire upon someone who won the lottery? Of course not! Likewise, if one wants to appreciate behavioral phenomenon with a basis in sexual evolution, don’t inquire upon some douchebag PUA, but rather make inquiries into a synthesis of scientific basis (like honest signalling theory, zoology, sexual evolution, etc).This suggests that shit-testing should be trivially negotiated by the average male.But it raises a further question, in how is ‘shit-testing’ a relatively efficient, and reliable measure of evolutionary value, beyond its circular premise of a fitness-test (ie. how did these male traits under scrutiny *evolve* – what advantages did they confer *before* they became correlated with female ‘shit-testing’)?
But, allow me to further clarify my position. The only male fitness test mediated by female-choice, is *reproductive success*(obviously correlated with sexual success). The amount of bullshit a male has to wade through (ie. where factors in sexual conflict mediate the frequency of successful males who ‘pass’ the test), is simply a proxy measure of *handicapping load*. Thus, less energetically liable males (those for whom sexual-conflict-mediated handicaps are mitigated by indications of genetic quality, like physical attractiveness, etc), are displaying *higher* fitness. This explanation also unifies the observation that men can get laid without incurring any obvious form of shit-testing (again, unless we stretch definitions to where they become meaningless – which seems to be an unfortunate requirement of reconciling ridiculous PUA notions about the way evolutionary systems actually work).I really think the Manosphere would have more credibility if it stopped pandering to demonstratedly spurious PUA conventions.
I meant to imply, that a man who is displaying sufficient value (for example, through genetic quality indicated in physical attractiveness), will not be hindered/handicapped by ‘shit-testing’. It is also important to note that ‘shit-testing’ is not a test per se, in cases where it is not a determinant of sexual success (which I contend is the general case). But rather it is a symptom of handicapping, where ‘shit-testing’ is communicating something about a male’s disposability (in a relationship), or is an affectation for the purpose of embellishing a female’s sexual value (in the context of an approach), or an outright repudiation (again, in the context of an approach).