Posts Tagged 'neil strauss'

Optimal Dating Strategy, Part 2

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on my “optimal dating strategy” post, and while it’s been mostly positive, there have been some questions that I’d like to answer.

So you’re some sort of geek, right? You used to have trouble getting girls?

Let me put it this way. When I was a kid, I decided to dress up as Indiana Jones for Halloween, but I didn’t wear the jungle-exploration outfit with the leather jacket and the fedora—I wore the college professor outfit with the tweed jacket and the bow-tie.

Did I think of this idea all at once and execute a “master plan” at one exact moment?

Actually, not really. I think I realized that my dating habits had evolved into my “ideal” system after about 10 first ten dates of my last major dating tour. I just saw the move 21, and while I wish I were as cool as Kevin Spacey with his cold, calculated way of winning at blackjack without actually getting caught up in the emotional aspect of “gambling,” my process grew slightly more organically.

Did you ever think of what would happen if any women found out about the strategy? Did any find out?

No, none found out, although there were a few times when the host at the comedy club asked me if I wanted my usual table. 🙂 However, that leads to another question.

Did you ever feel bad about doing this?

Not at all, because I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. The only thing I am guilty of is being impatient, realistic, efficient, and tired of getting screwed over. I was raised to value people even if they were annoying, unattractive, and of little use to me, and even though it gets harder with every year to hold on to that value, I still try to. Some of the women I dated got on my nerves, but even if I disliked them or felt like I had to ignore 90% of the conversation to keep my sanity, I never saw or treated them as objects, and even though they had a numbered cells in a spreadsheet, no one was “just a number.”

I met my fiancée though this dating system, and while she doesn’t like me to constantly bring it up :), because I met her by doing this, and meeting her was the best thing that ever happened to me, by definition, the dating system is the greatest idea I ever had. How could I feel bad about that?

Aside from massive dating frustration, what inspired you to do this?

Around the time I started this, I saw The 40 year-old Virgin and Hitch and read The Game by Neil Strauss and I hope they Serve Beer in Hell, by Tucker Max. These are all really great for anyone who was been frustrated with dating, but they all seemed to focus on making fun of strategies that don’t work or showing the dark side of getting women through manipulation. The Game discusses the how some geeks in the early 90s perfected the science of manipulative psychology used to seduce women for a “quick score.” I thought this was fascinating, but certainly not what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was take the clichéd advice of “just be yourself” touted in 40-year-old-virgin and Hitch and turn them into a science—the science of being yourself as best and efficiently as possible.

Getting back to 21, I had heard about the MIT blackjack scandle years before the book or movie came out, and while I don’t think what I achieved is quite on the same level, I do like the idea of creating a dating “hack,” so that was in the back of my mind during the beginning of this too.

What other general conclusions did you draw from all of this?

There were several other influences and realizations surrounding all of this. I remember a while back reading about strategies for beating polygraph tests. One common piece of advice is that since it is generally not possible to hide your body’s physiological response to lying, you must resort to other strategies (such as making the truth appear to be a lie also) to best the test. This focus on what is possible and how to cope with it gave me two ideas on the realities of dating.

  1. I am not a polygraph machine. It is generally not possible to tell if a woman is nice, decent, honest, and interested in me or is just pretending to be nice, decent, honest, and interested in me. I’m sure I’ll catch some flack for saying this, but while there *are* nice, genuine girls out there, women are much better at “faking it” than we want to believe, and not just in the When Harry Met Sally way. The empirical evidence is all on my side, sorry 🙂 While there were a few ways to guess if a woman wanted to see me again that I mentioned in my original post, over-thinking this was, investing in the law of diminishing returns.
  2. I can’t beat the “attractiveness” test of other women. It is generally not possible to change my appearance to make someone attracted to me. I can get a decent haircut, buy a trendy wardrobe, lose weight, and read books on current events or conversation skills, but my core essence (geeky) will always shine through, and a women will go for that or she won’t. End of story. By spending 10,000 hours of time practicing being cool or $10,000 in lifestyle enhancements, I might gain a small edge, but if I can’t actually change my core essence all that much, isn’t that investing in the law of diminishing returns again?

I’m not trying to be cynical at all, here. It’s just that these two realizations above freed my mind to be much more realistic and practical, and instead of investing my time and money in areas that wouldn’t pay off, I instead put all my energy into increasing my sample size to a ridiculously large magnitude and let the “good” women filter their way to the top on their own.

This leads me into another point.

You know the stereotype that Asians are good at math? If you major in a math-science field in college or get a math-science job, you’ll see that this stereotype isn’t all that true. Here’s why. It’s not so much that Asians are good at math, it’s that there are just so many of them to begin with. There are over ten Asians on this planet for every white American. Their top 1% of skilled math people is ten times larger than the 1% of the white part of the USA. No wonder it seems they are better than us.

Apply that to meeting people. Just take the top 1% of a very large sample, and see what you come up with. You’ll get much better quality than the top 10% of a smaller sample, and many more choices than the top 1% of the smaller sample.

So what now?

Hey, I’m getting married. I’m retired from the dating scene. I’m still looking for a protege to try my dating system out on. Now that I’ve got it all down to a science, maybe I can play the Kevin Spacey role and get my own movie made.