Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ah, truth

Read this about an unapologetic gold-digger seeking a man with a massive income.

Both sides are honest, and both typify, in my view, much of the dynamic in the long term dating market. Females seek males who are good resource providers, as access to those resources improves the odds of survival and reproduction of their own offspring. Females swap their fertility for resources. Or, in less evolutionary biological terms "I'm hot, so I want to get a guy with money."

The opportunity costs to females for mating (in the wild) are high: If you get knocked up, you lose your chance to try again with better genes for a good 12 to 15 months. And you must invest all those biological resources in growing and feeding the brat. And having one brat already, your subsequent brats will get less than your full attention, diminishing their odds of survival and reproduction, making you a less desirable potential mate with every brat you spawn. So choose wisely.

It's this diminishing appeal with incremental offspring that makes females want to lock in males. The band will only sell you their first album if you agree to buy every album they ever make. Doesn't work for records, yet seems to work in mating, probably because mating search costs are so high. Easy to find another band. Finding another mate takes time and resources.

Men, on the other hand, do the opposite. They flaunt their potential provider status in order to get access to sex, but have little interest in any commitment that's not required to assure the survival of their offspring. The male goal is not to get locked in, just to give their genes a shot at moving on. Males experience very little biological opportunity cost in mating. Did you give a skeezy slut (with bad genes and bad mothering tendencies) a squirt in a moment of bad judgment? No worries! You'll have another batch of swimmers ready to go in about 10 minutes. Good luck to her.

And in the "I want a rich banker" case, we see what males with true market power are able to do: They can afford to "lease" females. There's so much demand for them as resource providers, they can get access to high demand (attractive) females. And as the anonymous banker points out, the resource on offer from the females has a shelf life. Top males do not lose market power when the exchange is resources for sex.

I know a few of K's friends who are trapped by this phenomenon. They're high income earners, and are trapped in the old paradigm of choosing a male based on his resource provider capacity, which must exceed their own, of course. Which means there's only a small pool of males from which they're willing to select. Except they're not the only women targeting this group. Many women want these ultra rich guys who live the exciting luxury high power lifestyle. So they'll be competing with hot 25 year olds. And they're pushing 40. And if we adopt the perspective of this highly pursued male fr a moment, who has, on one hand, a 25 year old hottie who will fool around with him and not push marriage for a while, and on the other, a 38 year old who, attractive as she may be, wants to lock him in to marriage (option on half his assets) and kids (resource drain, plus likely impact on her overall attractiveness), who's he going to choose?

The irony, of course, is that these women claim (with all sincerity) that they just want a relationship. They seek understanding and companionship. They're, afterall, progressive women (or so they think). Yet they'd never consider dating the starving artist bike messenger yoga instructor scrimping by living with roommates in the deep East Bay. Despite having the emotional resources, he lacks the material resources to get in the consideration set.

It used to be that women understood their strong yet fleeting market power, being the owner operators of vaginas, and insisted that the males buy before they got access to the resource. I fear the sexual revolution, though fun, has made it harder for females to get resources. I have no idea why any highly demanded male would choose to buy a female when he can just rent.