The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

We Needed ‘Science’ to Tell Us This?

Posted on | December 15, 2011 | 24 Comments

Unattractive guys lacking social skills are — unexpectedly!poor judges of women’s interest in them:

There are “tons” of studies that show men think women are interested when they’re not, says lead author Carin Perilloux, a visiting professor at Williams College. But her study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, found that not all men do. And surprisingly, it appears that the dorky, less attractive guys are more likely to think they’re babe magnets than their more attractive counterparts. . . .
The more attractive the woman was to the guy, the more likely he was to overestimate her interest in him, researchers found. And it turns out, the less attractive men (who believed they were better looking than the women rated them) were more likely to think beautiful women were hot for them. But the more attractive guys tended to have a more realistic assessment.

Read the whole thing (hat-tip to Hot Air Headlines) but you don’t need psychological case studies to explain this phenomenon. The more success a guy has with women, the more experience he has in judging which chicks he has the best chance with.

If a guy is regularly scoring with chicks in the 6-to-7 range on the 10-scale, but has little luck with any chick who rates an 8 or better, he learns to spot chicks in his feasible range.

Less-attractive guys are sometime unfortunately unwilling to settle for the less-attractive chicks in their range. Popular entertainment (e.g., sitcoms in which chubby middle-aged losers have beautiful wives 10 years younger than them) suggests to these guys that they’ve got romantic opportunities they don’t actually have. And because the “dorky” guys also are usually lacking in social skills, they don’t have enough real-world romantic experience to judge either their own attractiveness or women’s interest in them.

As a result, the nerd’s only barometer of such matters is:

  1. Is she hot? and
  2. Will she talk to me?

Attractive women learn at an early age to spot guys like that and never give them any encouragement, lest they find themselves followed around by a lovestruck nerd who mistook her polite smile for a gesture of erotic passion. Guys who think pretty girls are “stuck up” fail to understand this as a necessary defense mechanism on the woman’s part.

Having seldom been mistaken for Brad Pitt myself, I spent my youth learning to make the best of what few advantages I possessed in the Darwinian competition for, uh, mating opportunities.

Learned to dance. Learned to play guitar. Dressed sharp. Told a few jokes. Also, and most importantly, I was always grateful for whatever female companionship I could get, without much caring that none of them looked like Vogue fashion models. While this any-port-in-a-storm attitude — romantic pragmatism, we might call it — may not strike you as ideal, it beats the hell out of being alone.

The ironic thing, of course, is that I eventually ended up married to a lovely woman who, as anyone who knows us will agree, is way too good for me. (Luck? No — it was skill, my friends.)

Here’s the thing: Actual real-life experience with women has the effect of teaching that beauty — however much we may admire it — is still only skin-deep. To quote Smokey Robinson: “Pretty girls are a dime a dozen. Try to find you one who’s gonna give you good lovin’.”

Back in the day, I’d go to a party and see guys hovering around the prettiest girl in the room, while less attractive girls sat unnoticed. Hey, “hunt where the ducks are,” as they say: Let those idiots chase the Queen Bee, I’ll be over here applying my charm where the odds of success are greater.

Unattractive guys do themselves a disservice when they eschew the companionship of unattractive women, while pining hopelessly for the “10” they’ll never get. Experience matters, and you’re never going to get any experience — except perhaps the experience of repeated rejection — by constantly chasing girls who are out of your league. Practice makes perfect, and if you get good enough at the game, you might one day get called up to the major leagues.

Guys talk about “geting lucky,” but it isn’t entirely luck. Ask my wife.


24 Responses to “We Needed ‘Science’ to Tell Us This?”

  1. Dan Collins
    December 15th, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    She wants me.

  2. Anonymous
    December 15th, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

    You mean the girl in the “3 foods never to eat” ad?

    Yeah, she’s hot for you. Just look at her. It’s obvious.

  3. Dan Collins
    December 15th, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

    Haven’t the vaguest idea why women with bodacious boobies are so attracted to me, but I’ll take it.

  4. Bob Belvedere
    December 15th, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

    You too, huh?

  5. Zilla of the Resistance
    December 15th, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    I was once young, single and pretty, and had more than one problem with creepy stalker guys who I guess thought that if they hounded me enough (or worse, CRIED – I hate that BTW) that I’d see how great they think they are. It was annoying, and sometimes scary. I definitely do not miss being single. Hooray for married life!

  6. JeffS
    December 15th, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    I think he means this chick.

  7. richard mcenroe
    December 15th, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

    It’s not that I lowered my unrealistic sights, it’s just that I got tired of waking up next to chewed-off arms…

  8. JeffS
    December 15th, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

    PS:  the linked photo is safe for work.


  9. Paula Gardner
    December 15th, 2011 @ 3:21 pm
  10. Adjoran
    December 15th, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    Uh-oh.  This talk of 10-scales and scoring reeks of “objectifying wymyn,” and that means you are likely to get a visit soon from You Know Who, attitude, Daddy issues, and all.

  11. Zilla of the Resistance
    December 15th, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    I do know some girls who found true love with “nerds” and could not possibly be happier. They get treated like queens.

  12. John Thomas
    December 15th, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

    I can hardly wait!

  13. Anonymous
    December 15th, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    I am discussing an “is,” not an “ought” — attractiveness can be quantified, and studies (to resort to science) show that beauty is an objective reality. That is to say, a woman rated as a ’10” by most people will not be rated a  “2” or “3” by anyone. There may be some variation in scoring, but this variation occurs within a range — it is not random. Thus there is nothing “sexist” in acknowledging the fact of beauty.

  14. Anonymous
    December 15th, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

    No…it’s not safe for work or anywhere else. 

  15. Pathfinder's wife
    December 15th, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

    This is so true.

    That’s ok; we have scoring systems for men (multiple ones). 😉

    My advice to my son: go for girls who you would not mind fathering a child by (just in case, but you’d better not — however…); always pay women sincere compliments; don’t give the queen bees the time of day (see rule #1; their character is probably not good and their looks will not last forever — I suggest the Rhett Butler treatment).  Don’t be in a rush to give out your heart, and never give out your body unless your heart can come along (see rule #1) — and lastly, pick a side and stick.

    My advice to my daughters: go for the boys who you would not mind having a child with (just in case, but you’d better not — however…); always remember to compliment men for being truly manly (true manliness, not this fake bs you see parading as manliness anymore); don’t give the arrogant pricks /bad boys (who are not really manly) the time of day (see rule #1…I suggest that it’s a compliment to be called a “B” by the likes of those).  Don’t be in a rush to give out your heart, and never give out your body unless your heart can come along (see rule #1), and lastly pick a side and stick.

    Worked well for me and Pathfinder.

  16. Pathfinder's wife
    December 15th, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    Well, with young people (whose dating and mating are of usually more consequence to society than old farts such as yours truly) there should perhaps be a distinction between actual physical beauty and the popular/cool. 

    I’ve seen some really not so physically attractive people who managed to get scores of admirers due to their social rank (which they viciously defended with the most cunning of offensive weapons) — which of course made their characters not so attractive either.  So it’s interesting to see how that sort of thing sets people up for adult life and the implications.

    This is probably completely off topic rambling; I’ll stop.

  17. JeffS
    December 15th, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    That sort of differing opinion is why I said “Ish”.

  18. jwallin
    December 15th, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    I think that’s kind of bogus.

    The hotter guys will of course be more accurate in their assessment because the women WERE attracted to them cause they’re HOT!

    Duh. It’s the ugos who have a tougher time evaluating how attracted a woman is to them.

    It’s like pointing out that someone likes ice cream. Of course EVERYONE likes ice cream.

    It’s a little more difficult to state with accuracy that someone likes broccoli cause not everyone likes broccoli.

    Another pointless survey/study that imparts zero amount of new information.

  19. Bob Belvedere
    December 15th, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    Thanks a lot, pal!  I didn’t need to see Chazz/Chastity Bono and he/she/it’s girlfriend nekked

  20. ThePaganTemple
    December 15th, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    After that pic you had on your blog the other day you have absolutely no right to bitch.

  21. K-Bob
    December 15th, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    Just study Professor Seger:

    “I Ain’t good lookin’,
    but you know I ain’t shy.
    Ain’t afraid to look a girl,
    in the eye.”

    The wisdom of the “aint’s”

  22. Danby
    December 16th, 2011 @ 6:22 am

     As Louis Jordan reminds us, “A pretty girl can do anything. An ugly girl has to do everything.”

  23. Bob Belvedere
    December 16th, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    That was truth-telling!

  24. » The view from around 3.5
    December 16th, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    […] Robert Stacy McCain points to a new psychological case study — this one, to be exact — and then declares that psychological case studies are simply restating the obvious: The more success a guy has with women, the more experience he has in judging which chicks he has the best chance with. If a guy is regularly scoring with chicks in the 6-to-7 range on the 10-scale, but has little luck with any chick who rates an 8 or better, he learns to spot chicks in his feasible range. […]