Is It You Or Is It Men?

It recently occurred to me that I have two types of clients:

1) Women who are their own greatest problem – too busy, too picky, too egotistical, too shy, too negative, too passive, etc.

2) Women who are absolutely delightful with only one issue: they’re terrible at picking men.

Who do you think is easier for me to assist?

Look in the mirror and ask yourself – am I too picky, too egocentric, too passive – or have I simply never paid attention to the men who were excited about me?

Is it easier to tell a busy woman who is married to her job to take more time for love? To tell a 39-year-old woman who looks great for her age that she should open up to slightly older men instead of hoping for a hot 35-year-old? To convince a woman with a history of emotional abuse that men are not the enemy?

Or is it far simpler to teach women to value men who value them in return?

Yeah, it’s not such a mystery after all.

I’ve got three clients right now who are on the cusp of relationships after less than two months of working with me. They’re different, but their stories are the same.

They range from 40-51 years old and are bright, likeable, and attractive.

They had some bad experiences, made some mistakes, wasted some time on the wrong men, and, after reading Why He Disappeared, inquired about working with me. All fit neatly into my second category of delightful women with bad pickers.

And once we rebranded them on, and let the process take its course, it was only a matter of time until good things started to happen. (To be fair, one of these women met her guy through Speed Dating, so I can’t take credit.)

But what each of them is experiencing is what it feels like to be valued by a man.

Their new guys call them every day. They pay for every meal. They say they’re starting to fall for them. They’re taking down their profiles. They’re talking about a future.

My clients can’t believe that it was that easy to find men who would treat them so kindly and consistently.

But that’s not because those men aren’t out there.

That’s because my clients never chose those men before.

Still, my delightful women worry about screwing up – what if I say something wrong, what if it’s not right, what if, what if, what if.

You know what I tell them?

When a guy is into you, you CAN’T do anything wrong.

Just appreciate his effort and make him feel rewarded for being so good to you.

Yes, it’s that easy.

So look in the mirror and ask yourself – am I too picky, too egocentric, too passive – or have I simply never paid attention to the men who were excited about me?

If it’s the latter, you’re a lot closer to love than you even realize.

Join our conversation (88 Comments).
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  1. 31

    I am not sure there is such thing as “too picky”. I have this accusation levelled at me all the time but I can’t magically have feelings for someone I don’t like just because they like me. If I could, I would because my life would be a lot easier but I can’t. I find the vast majority of men who are excited about me leave me cold and maybe one man every few years really does light my fire. Is that being picky? It would be if I were consciously choosing to feel that way but I’m not. I think that love is precious because it really is very rare. I am not sure it can be contrived. Is it me or is it men? Actually I think it’s life.

  2. 32

    13. Abusive men know how to introduce themselves and look “nice” at the beginning of the relationship to the point where they’re indistinguishable from other people the woman is dating. Abusers don’t walk around with “bad person” signs over their heads, nor do they necessarily have “rough tales” to tell at any opportunity to elicit sympathy. How do you think violent people get jobs and function in society? They do it by pretending to be regular folks.

  3. 33

    Love Evans quote #27 !!! Regardless of an abusive childhood that brings us back into the present for the choices we make going forward

  4. 34

    @ mara #25:

    Since Karl is so informed and clever, I’m sure he knows that the oft-misquoted statistic regarding gender mortality is nuanced. Those (such as yourself) who fail to delve into the details assume that all men die younger, failing to take into account the fact that the men who die younger (due to factors such as riskier behavior) skew the average. By the time a couple reaches age 50, the difference is less than 4 years. Since Karl’s fiancee is more than 4 years older than he, he has a good case for his assumption that he will outlive her.

  5. 35
    Happy Person

    There’s this idea out there that some people are abusive, implying that others are not; that some people accept abuse, implying that others do not; that some people are healthy in their choices, implying that others are not.

    I would propose that we all have been abusive, we’ve all been abused, we’ve all accepted abuse, we’ve all rejected abuse, we’ve all made healthy choices, we’ve all made unhealthy choices. It’s simply a matter of to what degree.

    So we all have positive and negative things in ourselves to work with.

    1. 35.1
      Desert Rose

      I don’t think I’ve been abusive thankyouverymuch. Good point though!

  6. 36

    @ Joe

    I am aware of that.
    Still, even past 50, men smoke more, drink more, eat more meat/cholesterol, drive faster and get into more mortal accident (at any age), get into fights, work in more dangerous environments and so…
    For sure, the difference is less the older the couple is but still.
    I don’t know many male widows

  7. 37

    Thanks Evan. I just started reading your posts about a couple of months ago. Your advice about valuing myself and not putting up with bad behavior from men has finally taken root…for me it was actually getting cancer that made the difference. I lived through it and decided that I get a second chance at life and want someone who will treat me well. For 47 years I always went for the bad boys. Not anymore. Keep doing what you are doing. Every day new women discover your advice and we are so happy to hear it.

  8. 38

    @EMK, what about a guy who claims that he has changed and is a better man now ?
    No, I didn’t take my player FWB back- but I need to hear what to say if he comes back.

    1. 38.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Daphne – Stay tuned to an entire blog post in coming weeks addressing your question about the ex who comes back. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  9. 39

    @ mara: I don’t know very many 50-something Fight Club members. But then, I don’t really know any guys who get into fights, period. Of course, that could be because the first rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club.

  10. 40
    Karl R

    Stephen asked: (#24)
    “How can i become an exciting guy? Do i tell them some of my dark secrets to make them fall in love? How can i create mystery?”

    Those three questions could fill a book.

    First things first
    This is not about making a woman fall in love with you. This is about getting your foot in the door, and keeping her interest long enough that she can get to know you (and either love you or dislike you based on that knowledge).

    First impressions count. Stand out from the crowd. I realize you’re a unique individual … just like everyone else. Being unique isn’t enough. Other people have to notice.

    The real trick is to draw people’s attention without looking like you’re trying to attract attention. In yoga class, I was the class clown. It was my goal to get the entire class to laugh out loud at least once. That blatantly obvious goal masked my secondary goal … I stood out from everyone else effortlessly.

    Less is more
    When talking about yourself, be a storyteller. You are not trying to accurately convey the details of your life. You’re trying to tell an interesting (and funny) story that’s relevant to the current conversation. Therefore, you should cut out any irrelevant detail. The only relevant details are the ones that move the story along. (The exception is humor. If a detail will get a laugh, it’s interesting specifically for that reason.)

    Furthermore, by leaving details out, you’re adding mystery. I surprised my fiancée one day when I started telling an amusing (and relevant) story about my brother. She had heard numerous stories about my other family members, but my brother hadn’t been directly involved in any of those stories, so I didn’t bother to mention him.

    It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.
    Why do you think I bother using bolt print, italics, headers, and line breaks? I could write this entire post as one long paragraph … and it would be painfully dull to read.

    You could take an entire course on how to become an interesting public speaker. If you have not done so already, I recommend it.

    You won’t be more interesting, but you will certainly seem that way.

    Which people are interesting?
    A few years ago, Evan put up a blog post talking about what made someone interesting. The two key factors he mentioned were passion and competence.

    I love my job. I love dancing. If you ask me about either of those, it has a transformative effect on me. I light up. I become more animated. I become fully engaged in the conversation. That sort of enthusiasm is infectious.

    The things I talked about above still hold true. If I’m talking about my job (or dancing), I’m going to relate it to things people understand. No matter how much I love dancing, if I get bogged down in the technical details, it will be boring to anyone except another dancer.

    Why I don’t do deep dark secrets
    Despite the situation that Elizabeth mentioned (#20), revealing “dark secrets” seems like a high-risk, low-return strategy.

    I don’t try to create this image of being a tormented soul with dark secrets. I’m more of a happy, well-adjusted, open-book kind of guy. If I actually have dark secrets, you’ll never know about it. If I’m telling my dates about them, they’re not secrets.

    It’s my belief that most people have experienced something dark, painful or traumatic in their lives. Therefore, there’s a distinct possibility that you’ll reveal your “dark secret” that torments you … and the happy, well-adjusted person will casually mention their own experience … one that trumps yours.

    At that point, you get downgraded from “mysterious” to “drama queen”.

    Mara, when it comes to life expectancy, Joe’s estimate is rather accurate. My fiancée’s life expectancy is 4-5 years more than mine … and that doesn’t begin to cover our age spread.

  11. 41

    at Fiona #34….I fully agree. I am trying to remain very open-minded, and to notice the “nice guy”, not necessarily put so much emphasis on looks–but there does need to be that level of attraction. I don’t want to be picky at all. Not looking for someone super successful, but I do need a experience some chemistry there.

  12. 42

    there’s just one problem here – this implies that the ”nice guys” are actually interested in us/asking us out!
    well in my case they aren’t. they put me firmly in the friend zone (from whence it is nigh on impossible to manoevre out!).
    the ratbags charm and wheedle.
    as for accepting/attracting…well I would suggest that even though it’s a broad generalisation, ”bad boys” love ”good girls”

    I’m doing everything Evan suggests, and more. Still no nice ones wanting more than ”friends”.

  13. 43
    Karl R

    susan said: (#46)
    “I would suggest that even though it’s a broad generalisation, ‘bad boys’ love ‘good girls'”

    How are you defining “good girls”?

    There’s a reason I ask. Having been in Stephen’s shoes, where I thought women avoided nice guys and pursued bad boys, I wasn’t nearly as much of a “nice” guy as I believed.

    susan said: (#46)
    “there’s just one problem here – this implies that the ‘nice guys’ are actually interested in us/asking us out! well in my case they aren’t.”
    “the ratbags charm and wheedle.”

    If I had to hazard a guess, you’re not giving men a clear indication that you’re interested in them.

    Men don’t read minds. Unless we’re getting a fairly clear signal that you’re interested, we’ll assume you’re not. The nicer guys aren’t interested in damaging their reputations by annoying women who aren’t interested. We’ll save our charm for women who are.

    The “ratbags” are less concerned about annoying women who aren’t interested.

    susan said: (#46)
    “I’m doing everything Evan suggests, and more. Still no nice ones wanting more than ‘friends’.”

    Getting a good, long-term relationship is a time-consuming process. Doing everything right doesn’t eliminate that time. It does, however, shorten the process.

  14. 44
    Saint Stephen

    @Karl R
    If you want to be a dating coach, you’ve got a client already.
    Thanks for the detailed answer/explanation.

  15. 45

    Karl R @47. i agree with susan about bad boys being attracted to nice girls. i’ve written elsewhere that i’m still licking my wounds more than a year later after having been sucked in by a lying, cheating, using, player. a year after the end of it i still suffer from what i went through (his almost daily rejection and then him crawling back) and what he ended up doing (pissed off with another women). i stayed so long because i felt sorry for his suffering and thought, as paul (31) did, that my love would help him settle down in time. i can relate to the post traumatic stress that Paul (31) speaks about. i consider myself to be a nice girl – trusting, kind etc. i was like a loyal dog, i don’t drink etc, i did alot for him, i was wonderful with his kids, i’ve got my own money etc. i’d never met a guy like that before so was ill equipped for even having a clue that i could possibly be his “miss right now” girl. the women he left me for appears to be equally wholesome. she’s got two kids and is big into horse competitions. and although he told me his ex-wife was a bi*ch who cheated on him (i found out that he’d actually cheated on her), i actually found her to be very kind, loving and positive even after having put up with his shit for 15 years. so that’s what i mean when i say bad boys are attracted to good girls.

  16. 46
    Karl R

    Stephen, (#48)
    I have no interest in being a dating coach, but a few years ago, Evan coached men as well as women. If you go back through the archives, you’ll find some highly relevant advice, and some highly relevant comments (as well as the usual level of vitriol).

    Paraphrasing one of those pieces of advice:
    “All a man needs to succeed at dating is a way to start a conversation, and the courage to fail.”

    The advice I gave (above) is about the first half. Getting your foot in the door.

    Leesa, (#49)
    susan’s complaint (#46) seemed to be more about nice guys not asking her out, rather than scumbags asking her out.

    I don’t hang out with men like the one you described. I have no idea what kind of women he seeks out. However, the women you describe (kind, loving, trusting) are the majority. He could end up with three in a row simply as statistical probability.

    This blog post (like numerous others) is talking about getting rid of men who don’t treat you well. If you are doing everything right, you will attract good and bad men. If susan is only attracting lousy men, she needs to know what to do to attract the good ones, in addition to the lousy ones she’s already attracting.

    Your comment (#49) is an interesting observation. But it doesn’t provide any advice as to how to solve susan’s issue.

  17. 47

    hi karl: i wasn’t trying to give susan advice, god knows i need advice and am no way equipped to give it. i was just giving my view on your question to susan in (47) “How are you defining “good girls”?”
    but i really like what you had to say in the above post about good girls being the majority and therefore crap guys generally getting good girls just by statistics. i also appreciate what you had to say about nice men not reading minds and needing a clear signal. so thanks for that tip.
    by the way, i really appreciate the male comments on this website. it’s funny, i generally scan through the comments and only read what the guys have to say. god knows i need all the male perspective i can get.

  18. 48

    Interesting discussion.  Just to respond to karls comments
    – i do beleive i’m doing everything right. I have certainly given clear indications to the ”nice guys” but I am, without exception, put firmly into the ”friends” basket by these ones almost immediately, usually with the explanation of either ”you are GREAT, and you deserve the best” et al, or , gee I hope we can be friends because I don’t have many friends, especially women (and then they proceed to dump all their own relationship angst on me….).
    – attracting bad boys, well I can only speak from experience and they are quite open about their whims and predilections – which includes being attrracted to ”good girls”.
    to define a good girl – they are the honest, regular girls with financial independence, a generous spirit and a whole life that dating is a part of not a primary focus in.
    bad boys – they are the heart breakers, the charmers, and so on (more detail on my blog).  
    I have today delivered the EMK no-thanks-and-walk-away message AGAIN to the latest ”can we be friends becuase at the moment i’m just not ready for a relationship” guy.  It hurts, it hurts.   But I am determined to stick by it.  I have enough friends. And I want an emotional commitment.  I don’t think thats unreasonable.  I’d put this guy in the nice guy category, he just got carried away in the moment and promised too much too early and now has changed his mind.  


  19. 50
    Paul Mawdsley

    A couple of years ago I was with a woman who had an 18 year old daughter who was a truly amazing young woman. She was very authentic and true to herself. She was deeply intuitive and self-aware on an emotional and social level. And she was very emotionally, empathically and intellectually mature beyond most of her peers. We had some of the most wonderful conversations about life.

    She wasn’t just beautiful on the inside. She had looks that turned heads. She had no trouble getting guys to be interested in her. Her trouble was getting guys who weren’t intimidated buy her or who were anywhere near a match for her maturity.

    The guys she dated tended to fall into two categories: nice guys with no emotional depth or complexity and guys with emotional depth and complexity but who were filled with angst and darkness. The first couldn’t match her emotional depth and complexity and the second couldn’t match her inner healthiness and goodness.

    We talked about her inability to find a good match. It helped her to see things in a way that put the cause for her experience outside of her. It also helped her to know that she needed to be patient to find a guy who had a good, healthy core and had a healthy emotional depth and complexity.

    My own sense is that women tend to grow more from a place of emotional depth, complexity and connectedness and men tend to grow more from a place of objective depth, complexity and centredness. This fits well with evolutionary psychology. As such, for the modern ideal relationships we are looking for, men need to develop emotional depth and complexity through the bonds they have with the women in their lives. If you want a good guy with emotional depth and complexity, you’re probably going to have to find a good guy who is willing and help him get there. Women tend to be a man’s emotional guides to depth and complexity. The healthiness of the women in his life is reflected in the level of emotional healthiness a man has.

  20. 51

    Leesa (#49, #51),

    If this is the first time that you’ve met a pua/player kind of guy, then you should stop beating yourself up, now!

    In order to heal (and you will heal), I suggest you learn the skill of self-compassion from prof Neff of University of Texas.
    This is her website:

    Then, another suggestion would be to educate yourself about player/pua community phenomenon, by reading The Game, The Rules of the Game, Mystery Method and some of the stuff from DaviddeAngello. You should also visit

    However, if this is not the first time that you’ve experienced a ‘relationship’ with this kind of guy, maybe you could go to to learn something about yourself and people that you surround yourself with.

    I wish you all the best,

  21. 52

    hi ana, i really appreciate the tips and i will definitely read those links you gave me – i read everything people suggest on this site – i couldn’t buy evan’s book fast enough! it was the first time i had encountered a lying, cheating, using, player which is why i trusted him and believed everything he told me. but i wasn’t perfect in the relationship (i judged him in the beginning (but he turned out to be so much worse than my intuition even hinted at)) so that’s why i beat myself up. i should have not been compassionate to him but i had no idea what was really going on with him. normally i would never have met a person like that but i was out of my normal social environment and had never encountered a single “real manly man – physically solid, sexy, charming, wanting a long term relationship” (normally i’m surrounded by nerdy types). but he wasn’t a real man, he just made himself out to be a hero. i feel like i’ve seen it ALL now so am confident of not being conned ever again. and evan’s blog really helps me feel more confident about interpreting and dealing appropriately with any potential love interest i encounter in the future.

  22. 53

    I think one problem with identifying abusive males, is skewed perceptions, affected by other variables.

    The pattern I trivially observe, is where behaviors/situations – which would conventionally be agreed upon as abusive – are underestimated in preference for partners with whom a woman shares extraordinary physical/sexual chemistry.

    On the contrary, I often see women sabotage relationships through passive aggression, or by baiting less attractive partners into a defensive posture, which they later justify in very spurious terms as ‘abuse’.

    But, I think it is becoming less controversial that abusive tendencies are seen(in the general case) as the privilege of the most sexually attractive males.

  23. 54

    i’ve just been reading “the player” section of that’s scary. looking back, that guy who sucked me in knew exactly what to do and say to make me fall hard fast for him. it came so naturally to him. all the lies and stories. they flowed off his tonge like nobody would think for a second that they were lies. i guess that’s why i feel the post traumatic stress at the shock and disgust of his depth of coniving deception. looking back, he was fast thinking on his feet. few women would be able to see through him which is why he has no problems getting decent women in succession or overlapping. and he’s 37. and for the sake of sex and security. i personally think guys like that are quite spiritually and emotionally sick and totally messed up.

  24. 55


    “But, I think it is becoming less controversial that abusive tendencies are seen(in the general case) as the privilege of the most sexually attractive males.”

    Surely, you can deign to substantiate such a wild assertion.

  25. 56
    Paul Mawdsley

    Leesa, watch 9 1/2 Weeks. You will see him all over again. It’s narcissism combined with deep emotional intuition. He feeds on your positive vision of him and his sense of power while manipulating your feelings. It’s epidemic and works in both directions between the sexes. It’s what replaces healthy core self-esteem when it is absent. All that is left inside these people is a cold black hole that needs to use and consume those they can bring into their web.

  26. 57
    Karl R

    Jafadisk said: (#59)
    “Surely, you can deign to substantiate such a wild assertion.”
    Paragon said: (#57)
    “The pattern I trivially observe, is where behaviors/situations – which would conventionally be agreed upon as abusive – are underestimated in preference for partners with whom a woman shares extraordinary physical/sexual chemistry.”

    The statement (of Paragon’s #57) which you quoted is poorly worded. The one I quoted explains the what he means slightly better.

    In other words, any outside observer would view the man as being an abusive jerk. However, the woman is willing to overlook his flaws and give him the benefit of the doubt … because he is sexually attractive. (The same can be observed when the sexes are reversed.)

    I was able to find this excerpt with a quick search:
    “You mentioned a word that stuck out in my mind. Chemistry. People talk about chemistry a lot in relationships. Especially those amazing relationships where you just feel this indescribable connection and ‘rightness’ with the other person.”

    “Psychologists Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko talk about chemistry in their book, Reinventing Your Life. The book describes how many of our childhood, social and family surroundings shape our sense of what feels ‘right’ in the world to us.”

    “Humans have an amazing drive for consistency and very often we end up seeking out friends and partners who perpetuate that feeling of ‘rightness’, even when it’s incredibly painful to us.

    Personally, I’ve always found it amazing the amount of mental gymanstics women (and men) are willing to go through to see the “good” in a person who treats them badly … when they find that person attractive.

    On the other hand, the same people will put no effort into seeing the “attractive” in a person who is genuinely good.

    If they’re that skilled/practiced at self-deception, they should be able to make it work for them.

  27. 58
    Paul Mawdsley

    Karl R: “Personally, I’ve always found it amazing the amount of mental gymanstics women (and men) are willing to go through to see the “good” in a person who treats them badly … when they find that person attractive.

    On the other hand, the same people will put no effort into seeing the “attractive” in a person who is genuinely good.”

    Great observation!

    I have also been struck by the fluency by which some people can see negative in an honest and true person who operates from a place of caring, respect and decency. It’s like creating a safe place for some people is the catalyst that releases ghosts of relationships past. From the perspective of someone who is open and caring, it feels like you don’t exist; your true motives and intentions are being skewed by the other person to be coming from a place of power, control and manipulation games. This is the post traumatic damage that is done and continues to haunt future relationships. Healthy relationships based on caring, connection and mutual respect for autonomy are impossible until the damage is dealt with and the power, control and manipulation lens can be brought into conscious control.

  28. 59

    @ Jadafisk

    “Surely, you can deign to substantiate such a wild assertion.”


    “Good genes, mating effort, and delinquency”
    (Martin L. Lalumièrea and Vernon L. Quinseyb
    a Forensic Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1R8;b Department of Psychology, Queen’s University at Kingston, Humphrey Hall, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 3N6.)

    Some excerpts from the study(let me know if you would like a copy):

    “High mating effort and antisocial and delinquent behaviors are closely linked. Some delinquent behaviors may honestly signal genetic quality. Men who exhibit high mating effort and who have high genetic quality would be expected to engage in more sexual coercion than other men because its costs to them are lowered by female preferences for them as sexual partners.

    Gangestad & Simpson’s (G&S’s) theory of strategic pluralism
    exemplifies selectionist thinking leading to novel and testable hypotheses. One of G&S’s central ideas is that males who display high genetic quality spend more energy than other males attracting new sexual partners (mating effort or ME) and less investment in providing for mate and offspring (parenting effort). The variation in the ratio of mating to parenting effort expended by males as a function of genetic quality is the result, in part, of females’ preference for males with high genetic quality, especially in the context of short-term mating. Males with good genes may even have an overall advantage in most mating contexts, because displaying good genes may be harder to fake than the promise of future parental investment. One strong prediction from G&S’s theory is that individual differences in male genetic quality will lead to female extra-pair mating in any species with biparental care. Landolt et al. (1995) found that men who scored high on a measure of “self-perceived mating success” more often selected shortterm mating tactics in a hypothetical dating situation than men who perceived themselves as less successful, particularly when the prospective partner was very attractive. Thus, as predicted by G&S’s theory of strategic pluralism, variation in men’s selfperceived mating success was associated with variation in mating tactics.

    One intriguing and novel aspect of G&S’s theory is that high
    male ME is seen as the result of high genetic quality and female choice rather than the result of competitive disadvantage in intermale competition. This is of particular interest because high ME is one of the most important correlates of both delinquency and sexual coercion among young men (e.g., Bogaert 1993; Elliott & Morse 1989; Flannery et al. 1993). In fact, Rowe’s construct deviance proneness includes behaviors associated with early onset of promiscuous sexual activities (e.g., Rowe et al. 1989). With regard to sexual coercion, men who report having been sexually coercive report more extensive sexual histories, including having more casual sex partners and earlier age of first intercourse, together with a greater preference for partner variety (reviewed in Quinsey & Lalumière 1995; Lalumière & Quinsey 1999). In one study, Simpson and Gangestad’s (1991) measure of unrestricted sexuality was one of the best measures distinguishing sexually coercive from nonsexually coercive young men (Lalumière & Quinsey 1996). Evolutionists usually consider both delinquency and sexual coercion to be alternative strategies used when competition for resources and status is unlikely to be successful (e.g., Rowe 1996; Thornhill & Thornhill 1983). As first sight then, G&S’s link between ME and good genes is paradoxical. But, of course, G&S do not attempt to explain all sources of variation in ME: their assertion is that increased ME may be expected of males with high genetic quality. Even so, is there a way to integrate the fact that delinquents engage in high ME into G&S’s theory of strategic pluralism?

    We offer a few suggestions. First, ME and antisociality are intimately linked (Lalumière & Quinsey 1999; Rowe 1996). Antisociality represents behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, personality features, and interpersonal styles that are self-serving and generally harmful to others. Antisocial tendencies may be necessary to pursue a high ME strategy because this strategy involves not compromising with women’s preferences and often results in harm to their reproductive interests. Thus, high quality males who engage in a great deal of ME may develop an antisocial impersonal style that facilitates the successful pursuit of multiple sex partners. In this view, both ME and antisociality would sometimes result from high genetic quality.

    Second, many delinquent acts could be viewed as signals of
    good genes because they display qualities that are very hard to fake. Willingness to fight, robbery, and rule breaking display qualities such as physical strength, bravery, and willingness to incur risks. Being a gang leader displays social dominance. If these and other delinquent behaviours act as honest displays of good genes, and if good genes lead to greater ME, then the association between delinquency and ME is not so puzzling.

    Female resistance to sexual advances may even serve as a “test” of some of the qualities of males with good genes, especially sexually dimorphic traits associated with low FA such as high body mass, muscularity/robustness, and dominance (G&S, sect. 4.4).

    Our point is that the adoption of a high ME strategy
    may be accompanied by an interpersonal style characterised
    by antisociality, the use of sexually coercive tactics, and the use of behavioural displays that are hard to fake. If this is the case, then the association between delinquency and ME does not contradict G&S’s thesis.”

    1. 59.1
      Tyrion Lannister


      “High mating effort and antisocial and delinquent behaviors are closely linked. Some delinquent behaviors may honestly signal genetic quality. Men who exhibit high mating effort and who have high genetic quality would be expected to engage in more sexual coercion than other men because its costs to them are lowered by female preferences for them as sexual partners”

      Other research suggests the opposite. Criminal behavior is correlated with low physical attractiveness
      and if we assume as true the good genes hypothesis, delinquency would be associated with bad genes.

      Some of the earliest criminological researchers shared this thinking. Physiognomy persisted throughout the 18th century, most notably in the work of Swiss scholar Johan Casper Lavater, whose influential Physiognomical Fragments appeared in 1775. One hundred years later, Italian prison physician Cesare Lombroso published Criminal Man (1876), a famous study that attributed criminal behavior to what he termed “atavism,” an inherited condition that made offenders evolutionary throwbacks to more primitive humans. By conducting autopsies on 66 deceased criminals, and comparing 832 living prison inmates with 390 soldiers, Lombroso created a list of physical features that he believed were associated with criminal behavior. These “stigmata” included sloping foreheads, asymmetrical faces, large jaws, receding chins, abundant wrinkles, extra fingers, toes, and nipples, long arms, short legs, and excessive body hair-hardly the image of handsome men.
      Harvard anthropologist Earnest A. Hooton conducted an ambitious 12-year study that compared 13,873 male prisoners in 10 states with a haphazard sample of 3,023 men drawn from the general population, searching once more for physical differences. Hooton published his findings in The American Criminal and Crime and the Man, both books appearing in 1939. The books attributed criminal behavior to biological inferiority and “degeneration,” ascribing a variety of unattractive physical characteristics to criminals (including sloping foreheads, compressed facial features, drooping eyelids, small, protruding ears, projecting cheekbones, narrow jaws, pointy chins, and rounded shoulders).

      By the 1930s, however, biological research was rapidly losing favor, as criminologists increasingly argued that social factors alone cause criminal behavior. Hooton’s research was ridiculed in particular, one sociologist dismissing his findings as comically inept in historic proportions (or “the funniest academic performance… since the invention of movable type” [Reuter 1939]). Hooton was condemned for his circular reasoning: offenders were assumed to be biologically inferior, so whatever features differentiated criminals from noncriminals were interpreted as indications of biological inferiority.

      Despite the skepticism of many sociologists regarding these attempts to link physical unattractiveness to criminal conduct, self-derogation and general strain theories can explain this relationship. Self-derogation theory asserts that youth who are ridiculed by peers lose self-esteem and the motivation to conform (Kaplan 1980). General strain theory claims that repeated “noxious,” unwanted interactions produce disappointment, depression, frustration, and anger (Agnew 1992). Both theories see delinquency and crime as means of retaliation that boosts one’s self-worth or vents one’s anger. Certainly, unattractive youths are prime candidates for noxious ridicule that results in low self-esteem and emotional strain.
      Only a handful of modern studies have tested the relationships among attractiveness, criminal behavior, and perceptions about crime. Saladin, Saper, and Breen (1988), for example, asked 28 students in one undergraduate psychology class to judge the physical attractiveness of a group of photographs of young men. Forty students in another psychology class were asked to examine the same photographs and then assess the probability that those pictured would commit either robbery or murder. The researchers found that men rated as less attractive also were perceived to be prone to commit future violent crimes, suggesting that unattractive people are more likely to be branded as criminals.
      Another study randomly scrambled 159 photographs of young men incarcerated in juvenile reformatories with 134 photographs of male high school seniors (Cavior and Howard 1973). College sophomores in psychology courses were asked to rate the facial attractiveness of these youth. Significantly more high school seniors were judged attractive than males from the reformatories.
      In the fascinating policy-oriented research that became the basis for the movie Johnny Handsome, surgeons performed plastic surgery to correct deformities and disfigurements (e.g., protruding ears, broken noses, unsightly tattoos, and needle track marks from intravenous drug use) on the faces, hands, and arms of 100 physically unattractive men at the time of their release from Rikers Island jail in New York City (Kurtzberg et al. 1978). These ex-convicts were matched against a control group of equally unattractive inmates released from the jail who received no reconstructive surgery. When the researchers compared recidivism rates one-year later, those who received the surgery had significantly fewer rearrests. Apparently, improved appearance resulted in improved behavior.
      These research findings are preliminary and suggestive; more definitive studies using better measurements are needed. In particular, future research should relate ratings of physical attractiveness to the self-reported criminal behavior of persons taken from the general population. Such studies would rule out the possibility that unattractive offenders are more likely to appear in jails and reformatories simply due to the prejudices of the police and prosecutors.
      Nevertheless, existing research hints that the folk wisdom dating back to the ancient Greeks may have some basis in reality. Physical appearance is related to self-worth and behavior; as the adage goes, “pretty is as pretty does.” When it comes to criminal behavior, the opposite may be true as well.

      1. 59.1.1
        Martin Cruz

        @ Tyrion
        “Other research suggests the opposite.”
        It appears, then, that there are conflicting studies.
        However, “Good genes, mating effort, and delinquency” is the only one that speaks to ‘actual’ mating frequencies(rather than just things like surveys purporting to measure perceived attractiveness, etc), and is thus the more compelling.
        “Criminal behavior is correlated with low physical attractiveness and if we assume as true the good genes hypothesis, delinquency would be associated with bad genes.”
        Not at all, as characteristic delinquency would lend itself better to any strategy working to maximize the number of potential offspring, given null costs in paternal investment.  
        You appear well read, but I would suggest that you either have more reading to do, or your comprehension of the material is lacking.

        1. Tyrion Lannister

          @ Martin Cruz (…or maybe I should call you Paragon aka Symmetrybreaker?).
          “However, “Good genes, mating effort, and delinquency” is the only one that speaks to ‘actual’ mating frequencies (rather than just things like surveys purporting to measure perceived attractiveness, etc), and is thus the more compelling.”
           First, Lalumièrea et al. work with a measure of “self-perceived” mating success. I guess you know that a self-report study is a type of SURVEY, which usually lack validity for a number of reasons: participants may lie; give answers that are desired and so on.
           Second, Anthropometry is a simple RELIABLE METHOD for quantifying body/face size and proportions:
           2) Lombroso observed the physical characteristics of Italian prisoners and compared them to those of Italian soldiers. And the physical characteristics that he used to identify prisoners included an asymmetry of the face or head, large monkey-like ears, large lips, a twisted nose, excessive cheekbones, long arms, and excessive wrinkles on the skin. Criminal Man (1876).
           3) Verdum et al also did an anthropological study of 33 criminal delinquent adults & 41 juvenile delinquents; they found increased proportion of alterations of the constitutional morphology.
           4) Hooton measured the physical characteristics of 13,873 criminals from ten states (which included Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Missouri, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona)and compared them to a control sample of 3,203 non-criminals from Massachusetts, Tennessee, and North Carolina in order to make clear any differences between the two groups all adult-male groups (Hooton, 1939c: 35). His measurements included such physical characteristics as weight, height, head length, nose height, and ear length. Countless other measurements (107 in total) were taken from each subject including age, religion, education, offense committed, marital status, I.Q., eye color, moles, tattooing, and race (Hooton, 1939c: 37-47)
           Third, you should know that in ratings of physical attractiveness (P.A), researchers employ “Truth of Consensus” research methodology, whereby others judge the physical attractiveness of a stimulus person without explicit reference to any single determinant, i.e., a Gestalt perspective (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts). Furthermore, P.A measures are quite reliable. There is high agreement among physical attractiveness ratings between other persons (particularly strangers). The data confirm the ‘truth of consensus’ procedure yields a research construct that is highly reliable, as well as utilitarian. Ratings provide assurance for internal validity and external validity. Cavior et al 1.973 and Saladin et al 1988 applied this methodology.
           “Not at all, as characteristic delinquency would lend itself better to any strategy working to maximize the number of potential offspring, given null costs in paternal investment.”
           Surely we are agree that preferred male must provide genes that increase the survivorship or mating success of the offspring as compared to the genes provided by less desirable males (and beauty preferences appear to have evolved under the influence of both the good genes and the runaway selection mechanisms). But since real evidence proves there is a negative genetic correlation between male sexual attractiveness and criminal behaviour. (I.e. I suggest you visit some penitentiary if you’re still doubting about it). So based on this premise, the discussion should already be finished.
           Well in contrast Lalumièrea et al. are suggesting that genes enhancing sexual attractiveness may be associated with behavioral pleiotropic effects. But it is not necessary to perform sexually coercive tactics /antisocial behaviour if you are physically attractive. Since variance in male mating success is easily interpreted as a result of phenotypic differences among males which females perceive and to which they respond. And reproductive success is constrained by women’s reactions to a man’s attractiveness.
           It is not that most men adopt a long-term strategy in preference to a shortterm strategy; it is that most men do not have the opportunity to pursue short-term strategies, but they would if they were highly attractives. So switching from a long to a short term strategy only requires opportunity. Men without opportunities would incur in higher mating effort and in a coercive behavior to gain access to non-receptive females.
          Women prefer attractive men – low levels of developmental instability and mutuational load-, and hence such men have more mating opportunities and can invest less in particular women.  You don’t need to introduce variables such as antisocial behavior and coercive tactics within the equation fo getting increase the mating success in high quality males.  Reality would be the opposite of what you describe.
           Moreover Figueredo et al. (2000) applied this framework to address the ultimate causes of adolescent sex offending behavior by proposing a brunswikian bvolutionary developmental (BED) theory, wherein an inability to use mainstream sexual strategies lead an individual to develop deviant sexual strategies. Because some adolescents suffer psychosocial problems and consequent competitive disadvantages in the sexual marketplace, sex offending behavior may represent the culmination of a tragic series of failing sexual and social strategies, leading from psychosocial deficiencies to sexual deviance, thence to antisocial deviance, and finally to sexual criminality. When indirect means of sexual competition fail, more direct means are selected ( see Thornhill & Thornhill 1992).
           Therefore non-coercive mate diversification strategies are developmentally selected by males who are supernormally endowed with certain sexually attractive attributes. Such sex-specific factors alter the relative cost-benefit ratios of mating effort with respect to parental effort in these individuals, thus biasing their Gibsonian affordances.
           “You appear well read, but I would suggest that you either have more reading to do, or your comprehension of the material is lacking.”
           Thanks for the compliment. I confess I’ve been a fan of your great comments, and I liked the stiffness and stasis of your academic style. Although I’ve noticed that your former writings were most detailed, technical, and with most verifiable information contained within them. It seems that the disparagement has replaced your literary style.

        2. Tyrion Lannister

          Good genes, mating effort, and delinquency hypothesis is completely failed:
          1) Lack validity and reliability of survey questionnaires
           2) That study lacks of the strength of a direct measurement of phenotypic and genetic quality in a sample of criminal population, which would be very strong evidence of female mate preferences. However, working with an indirect measures of mate value (i.e mating success) are not as valid as direct measures of male genetic quality because we have to make assumptions about what exactly the self-report means.
           3) One severe limitation regarding the measurement of mating success is the lack of reliable measures of mate value. It does not take into account the genetic quality of their female partners. That study is only quantifying number of copulations, sexual partners and relationships, and it is misleading index of real mating success, because they should take into account quantity and quality of mates.A coherent corollary would be that those women mating to criminal men will on average have low mate value.
           For the record:
           MAOA-2R doubles violent delinquency in men and quadruples risk of arrest in black men. An index of MAOA-3R, ANKK1, DAT1, DRD4, and 5-HTTLPR is a significant predictor of adult black male violent delinquency, unlike an index of the mother-son childhood relationship. Antisocial behaviors, including crime and delinquency, are the result of a complex arrangement of genetic and environmental factors working independently and synergistically.
          Mating effort is defined as energy spent in locating, courting, and having sex with members of the preferred sex and age.  Therefore sexual deprived males (less physically attractive) have greater past frequency and future likelihood of engaging in coercive sexual behaviours than men who score low on mating effort. (Physically attractive men). So unattractive men can gain copulation either by increasing highly their courting efforts or through sexual coercion.  When allowed to choose between males, females preferred attractive males over unattractive males.  According to the mate deprivation hypothesis of sexual coercion, males are more likely to use violence, dominance in male-male competition and sexually coercive tactics if they are disadvantaged in gaining access to desirable mates.
           Individuals who possess preferred traits, by virtue of their enhanced ability to exercise choice in a mating market, have greater reproductive success. So logic proves that unattractive males must to devote much most time trying courtship, or attempting forced copulations. Human females vary in their receptiveness to male phenotypic quality. So courting males also evaluate female receptivity because it directly affects a male’s probability of mating. Findings show that the primary psychopathy features (callousness, charm, and selfishness) predict a short-term mating strategy that focuses on gaining sex through minor forms of coercion and manipulation.
           Women are willing to consider the most attractive men for all types of romantic relationships. obviously as relationships obtained through free female choice are yielded by the highest rates of receptivity. Mealy offered (1995) a general evolutionary account of this suite of behaviours, arguing that is an adaptive strategy in which there may be continuum of heritable psychopathic mating tactics, ranging from hardwired, empathy-blinds rapists to morally flexible opportunists. Maybe collectively represents a coherent reproductive strategy in sexual deprived males (less attractive guys) – one of intraspecific social parasitism and sexual exploitation. Within certain socio-cultural niches ,psychopathic strategies may increase reproductive success, particularly when psychopath’ decreased startle, fear, empathy, and remorse  would make them more effective at using coercive tactics (killing, cheating, stealing, raping, etc).

        3. Yasmine

          “Not at all, as characteristic delinquency would lend itself better to any strategy working to maximize the number of potential offspring, given null costs in paternal investment”
          Nope. It depends of social environments. Non-State societies usually have rewarded such behaviors with success, including reproductive success. But State societies punish young men who act violently on their own initiative. Thus, given the moderate to high heritability of male aggressiveness, the State tends to remove violent predispositions from the gene pool while favoring tendencies toward peacefulness and submission.
          “Good genes, mating effort, and delinquency” is the only one that speaks to ‘actual’ mating frequencies”
          You are wrong. Anthropologists have documented a consistent historical pattern and if we have:
          1-strong skew in mating frequency in which a few males obtain most of the matings, while the rest have little or no succes,  the extent to which particular individuals monopolize breeding, or
          2- male based sex ratio in the direction of a smaller proportion of females,

          Then, excluded men (lower mate value) become increasingly competitive, becoming more likely to engage in risky, short-term oriented behavior including gambling, drug abuse, and crime. This sort of pattern fits well with the rest of the biological world. Decades of work in behavioral ecology has shown that in species in which there is substantial variation in mating success among males, males compete especially fiercely.

          The precise details of the route from a biased sex ratio to anti-social behavior in humans is not thoroughly understood, but one possible physiological link is that remaining unmarried increases levels of testosterone—often simply referred to as “T”—which in turn influences decision making and behavior.

          The differences between societies that allow polygyny and those that don’t are potentially illustrative. In societies with polygamy, there are, for obvious reasons, larger numbers of unmarried men than in societies that prohibit polygyny. These unmarried men compete for the remaining unmarried women, which includes a greater propensity to violence and engaging in more criminal behavior than their married counterparts. Indeed, cross-national research shows a consistent relationship between imbalanced sex ratios and rates of violent crime. The higher the fraction of unmarried men in a population, the greater the frequency of theft, fraud, rape, and murder. The size of these effects are non-trivial: Some estimates suggest marriage reduces the likelihood of criminal behavior by as much as one half.

          Further, relatively poor unmarried men, historically, have formed associations with other unmarried men, using force to secure resources they otherwise would be unable to obtain.

          A good example would be sub-Saharan Africa. Since the incidence of polygyny is high (over 20% of all marriages), there is typically a surplus of young single males. These societies often resolve the destabilizing influence of these males by stationing them on the periphery of their territory in warrior camps. This set-up, in turn, is conducive to endemic warfare, since war is usually the only way these men can get access to women.

  29. 60

    I would be interested to know how the 5 love languages theory would play out here. Certainly for me (whose primary language of receipt is words of affirmation), this has played a huge part in the kind of men (actually relationships in general) that I have put energy into. the one who TALKS to me and tells me those things could be excused all kinds of misdemeanors!
    Similarly I’m guessing that for those that value physical touch, the strong sexual chemistry is going to override other poor behaviours, or allow the person to make excuses.
    The guy who showers a ”gift” person with flowers and chocolates will get away with more , and so on.
    Note that i am talking here about the abusive/emotionally unintelligent, not your regular decent person who genuinely wants to connect with their partner.
    and i think this would work in reverse too – lets not forget that their are many women who fit the ”user/abuser” category.

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