You are a lot better than your competition than you think

Blog reader “Haselnuss” left an interesting comment on the recent Open Thread. It’s about women who, despite being OK-ish looking, can’t get a guy to date them. My first response was to ask about socioeconomic status. But there is of course another point to it. He wrote:

I know several 20 y/o women. All of which are single but not by choice for some time now. They aren’t top tier but in the upper 20 – 30 % looks-wise. They aren’t fat, they are thin. They have pleasant personalities as far as 20 y/o can have that. They aren’t sluts. They aren’t prudes. They come in contact with men and fancy some of them – no, those aren’t the “uber alphas”. But all these men are ready to give is casual sex/hookups. Deal breakers from the women’s side are the usual ones (ugly, small, no money at all, [“refugee”] etc.). My standard analysis would be that there is something wrong with them. But I can’t find it. Anyone an idea?

I thought of that comment again when I was browsing tech news today, reading up on some startup that was funded by a guy ten years younger than me who is worth several hundreds of million dollars. See, the issue is that we tend to compare ourselves to those who are doing a lot better than we are. When I look at my life objectively, I think I’m doing fine. This is probably true for a lot of you guys, too. Yet, when we look around, we tend to focus on outliers. Maybe you read up on an app you’re using, and learn that the company behind it is run by some 20 year-old who became a multimillionaire at the age you graduated from high school.

However, let’s be real here: Look at the average Joe and compare yourself to him. For a reality check, consider that nearly 70% of Americans have savings of less than $1,000. Since “Haselnuss” is, presumably, living in Germany, we can look at those numbers, too: If you have more than 50,000 Euros in the bank, you are in the top 10%! What follows from that is that if you have a stable job and sock away at least a bit of your income for a few years, you’re already ahead of 90% of the competition in terms of money.

But let’s go back to the ladies in the comment quoted above: Easily half of women aren’t attractive at all. In my estimation, less than 10% of women are attractive. Top 30% means kind of okay-looking, but you’d not rub one out thinking about them. In other words, they are nothing special. What could be wrong with them? Why can’t they get a decent guy to date them? After thinking about this for a little bit, and with the information above in mind, it’s quite easy to figure this out. They want someone who looks good (top 20 %), he shouldn’t be poor (top 10 %), and he shouldn’t be short either (top 10 %). For simplicity, let’s assume that all those variables are independent. So, for a guy who is decent-looking, not poor, and not short, the number is: 0.2 * 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.002 = 0.2 %. As a guy, the first thing you notice is whether she is attractive. If she is not attractive, you don’t care how great her personality is. The inverse is not true because an attractive woman does not necessarily get away with being a bitch.

Now think again: does it make sense that a “top 30%” woman should get a top 0.2 % guy? Of course not! If you have options, you’ll make use of them. You don’t settle for a girl who just so happened that she isn’t ugly. There are so many of them around that she won’t stand out in any way. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that the few quality guys they come across, i.e. guys who are neither ugly, nor poor, nor short, at best want to fuck them and move on. They would be stupid to settle down with them. They wouldn’t work for an employer that pays them a quarter of their market rate either.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below, but keep the comment policy in mind.
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32 thoughts on “You are a lot better than your competition than you think

  1. Great post! I agree with almost everything, except for one part. Since each of those 3 categories are weighted differently in girls’ eyes, it wouldn’t make sense to do a direct calculation. For example, if you ranked in the bottom 20% in looks, bottom 20% in height, and top 10% in income, you would be in the top (0.8*0.8*0.1=0.064) 6.4% of all guys, but that’s not how girls are looking at it. But your point is taken that if you’re a quality guy, you have a cornucopia of options.

    1. More correctly, I stated that only 0.2% of guys are in the category those girls desire. 6.4% are in the category you describe, but it is a less desirable one. We’re simply shading different intersections on a Venn diagram with three circles.

  2. I hear these statistics from time to time and it always boggles my mind that being from a 3rd world country I have more savings than the average american or european.

    I usually get the impression that I dont make as much money as many of my university classmates, until I remind myself I went to a pretty high class university where most students already came from wealthier families. I could reliably position myself in the top 20% or higher now.

    I should probably update that personal finance thread in the forum…

    1. Calculated on my net salary alone I am, for my country, in the top 10% for sure, but 1% is a bit of a stretch. There was even an online calculator a few years ago, that estimated your position among income brackets, and it put me in the lower end of the top 10%. Cant say exactly where I stand now because inflation makes it hard to keep track.

      However I do not have much in the way of assets. I dont own any real estate (not even an apartment), nor a car, etcc… at least for now. I live way below my means and devote at the very least 50% (sometimes more) of my salary to savings or investing.

    2. Look at net worth instead. You can end up in the top 10 % fairly easily if you have a “top 50 %” income and make smart decisions with your money.

  3. The post makes intuitive sense. However the calculation that gets to .2% assumes being tall, good looking and financially sound are independent. I’d assume these qualities are correlated,meaning being in the top 10% in each might put you in the top 5% overall.

    1. Didn’t I write that I make the simplifying assumption that those variables are independent? They are weakly correlated. Beauty and intelligence are correlated as well. Many guys confuse mere youth with beauty, so it they don’t realize that. However, beauty is due to symmetry, which is due to superior health.

      Even if we assume those variables are fully dependent on each other, it doesn’t invalidate my argument. Just take wealth: why would a guy who is in the top 10% take a woman who is merely in the top 30%?

  4. Some years ago my city’s newspaper ran a fluff piece where they interviewed four women in their early 30s, all of whom complained about how hard it was to find serious boyfriends. It was really another variation of “why am I single when I am so wonderful” which usually indicates the person saying this needs to take a long look in the mirror. The article produced a large amount of backlash, which I am sure was a big surprise. A lot of the feedback revolved around the fact that a lot of guys felt the dating market was saturated with average looking women with unrealistic expectations and the women profiled were cases in point. There was also a raft of complaints on how brutal it could be to approach women here.

    The article pictured the women interviewed, and while none were hideous, they were all pretty safely in the average looking category. I am not sure what the actual issues but I suspect that it was some mixture of high expectations and guys in their age bracket gravitating towards 20 somethings.

    1. If you’re the kind of guy those women want (tall, good-looking, money in the bank, and willing to settle down), it just won’t happen that you’ll pick a woman in her 30s over one in her early to mid 20s.

    2. I just noticed Aaron posted a great sticky with this same theme. The general point is that something as simple and easy to apply as minimal game can get you to top 2-5% of sexual success.

    3. A lot of the feedback revolved around the fact that a lot of guys felt the dating market was saturated with average looking women with unrealistic expectations and the women profiled were cases in point.
      You just reminded me the Japan case.
      The average Japanese women has such unrealistic expectations that are truly mind boggling. The Japanese culture is extremely different from western culture, and men are the subjects of a brutal social pressure. So, they have few options. To pressure themselves to get a career, to become NEETs, or just kill themselves. Yes, suicide is a real option there.

    4. BTW, I forgot to add:
      This situation in Japan also explains why birth rates and even sexual activity are on a slippery slope, and the Japanese pornographic industry (that includes both hentai animation, videogames and traditional pornography) it’s having a gold age.

    5. Indeed, Aaron. Men have a raw deal in Japan. Also, just look the levels of cuasi-devotion some men have for idols and female seiyuus (voice actors). Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to be the case with gravure models (the Japanese equivalent of the FHM/Maxim girl). I guess that’s because the lack of overt sexuality of the first two, that allow those otaku to sustain the illusion of purity (think the Hulk version of the Madonna/Whore complex). Some seiyuu even received death threats because she inadvertently accepted she had sex quite often, or because she had a boyfriend whom she had sex (I honestly can’t remember).

  5. We should also dig up that comment someone posted about number of sexual partners and what percentage it puts you. That too was surprising.

    1. That was somewhere on the old blog. I just searched online and found those figures, according to which a guy who has had 5 or more sexual partners in the past 12 months is already in the top 5 %.

    2. This is not based on past 12 months data, but lifetime count it seems.
      http://www.data360.org/pdf/20070416064139.Global%20Sex%20Survey.pdf
      Page 6. Study by Durex from 2005.
      Global average is 9, which… seems quite high to me.
      Also this one: “Men have had more sexual partners than women – 10.2 compared with 6.9”
      Not sure weather men have more sexual partners than women, but the difference is just too high, almost 1.5 times. I’m questioning the quality of this survey, especially when a conservative country like Turkey leads the global partner count with 14.5 partners. I’m not good in statistics, but maybe they had some guys who (claimed to have) had sex with a lot of women and that had an impact the sample. They say it’s based on 317k people from 41 countries, but they don’t say if it’s an equal number for each country, because that would be 7k people roughly, which sounds rather representative, though.

    3. You are right. We would need to need a lot more about the study design and the data they collected. Note that merely a high number of participants does not guarantee that the study will be representative. Instead, the sample has to be representative (!) of the entire population if you want to draw conclusions about the latter via the former.

    4. According to this one:

      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-sex/201602/the-shocking-truth-about-hook-ups-and-casual-sex

      Having 20+ partners (total) puts you in the top 3%.

      Also don’t forget guys that when any research/study talks about “sexual partners” they mean any kind of sexual activity whatsover. So women who’ve only given you a blowjob count as “sexual partners”.

      Interestingly too… only a quarter of hookups happen without alcohol… No wonder everyone one of RSD’s “pulling videos” features women who are physically stumbling and have slurred speech.

    5. Aren’t we putting a lot of weight on the pure number of sexual partners?
      I mean, Alek, let’s say (totally guessing here) you have slept with 120 girls. Seriously, what’s the difference between lay No 85 and lay No 86? I’d say it’s pretty much the same as 25 to 26 and I think it’s also the same from 15 to 16 aaaand I’d say it’s also pretty much the same as from 5 to 6. All this assuming that quality wise the sex came from pretty fast escalation (ONS or maximum one date, no five weeks movies-dinner-walks-in-the-park dating).
      What I’m feeling is that there is like a threshold, maybe 3 or 4 and from there on you kinda get the mechanism. But most people don’t dare to dump Number 2 to get to Number 3, hence they stick with what they have because they don’t believe that what they did to get laid is a repeatable procedure.
      So the question is, who goes beyond that threshold number (wherever that is, but I’d say it’s quite low)? From there on it’s almost like sky is the limit and I feel that in any statistic it’s the people having passed beyond that threshold who yank up the overall numbers.
      (Dump Buffet in a room of 1000 average net worth individuals and on average the whole room will become UHNW)

    6. @Neutral

      No we’re not “putting a lot of weight on the number of partners”. You’ve either missed the point entirely, or are mis-interpreting the point on purpose.

      Let me give you the bodyfat example. When Aaron says you only need to get to 15% bodyfat and put in 2 years of gym work to get to top 1% of physiques… his point is to RELAX ABOUT IT… It isn’t to “put more focus on obsessing about muscle and your bodyfat number. The point is TO NOT obsess about it.

      The reason I mention these numbers isn’t in the direction of “you need to worry about your numbers”, it’s to say relax, this is easy. You’re doing a lot better than you think you are.

      For example, from that same link:

      Fully 50% are at two partners or LESS. That’s comforting for a lot of guys. If you’re on this blog, you’re doing a lot better than you think you are.

    7. I’ve heard about those numbers before. One possible explanation for the discrepancy Ive read as suggested elsewhere is that the samples are unlikely to include prostitutes (which are overwhelmingly females serving males).

      Another factor is the well known tendency for guys to inflate their numbers while girls downplay theirs. But my money is on the prostitutes (figuratively).

  6. There’s a co-worker who is easily an 8 , 9 or 10…. And she’s single of Russian descent and 29 or 30. I can only guess her singleness is due to she’s either 1) crazy 2) religious oppressed or 3) has crazy high standards.

    Echoing sleazy, this chick probably will only want the top 0.02%…

    According to this article its all guys fault: http://www.bolde.com/many-smart-gorgeous-women-single-almost-epidemic/

    Sometimes I wonder if feminism and all this pro pan gender trans sexual acceptance is some master fuck of a plan by the ‘elites’ to effrectuate population control as the earth is getting overpopulated. I mean gays dont statistically raise children …and feminists insist on trying to have a baby (if at all) past 35…when a woman’s eggs are drying up.

    Funny thing is how the population control happens in the West…but not on our wonderful diverse countries that produce refugees…

    1. @Shaking my head

      I had a some time to kill today and I read a bunch of articles on that bolde.com website you linked. Man, did I laugh! If these women writing there didnt take themselves so seriously you could be forgiven to mistake it for an offshoot of Comedy Central.

    2. Ps: for those who dont want to waste their time, I will summarize all those articles in one sentence:

      *spoiler alert*
      Women are sooo great and whatever is wrong, the guys are always at fault.

    3. I guess we should commend bolde.com for some good SEO as I came across their site after typing in “beautiful woman single” and their site came up at top of the results.

      Side note: any digital products we can make to sell to bolde readers? Although telling them to settle for a top 20% guy instead of a top 0.2% guy might not bode well.. .

    4. I have a few bridges on Jupiter I’ve been trying to get off my hands.

      I suppose we can rename them “bridges to female empowerment”, and once real estate development reaches Jupiter they will be worth a fortune! And since they are not even on this planet they are carbon neutral, environmentally friendly, and buying them creates jobs for refugee children from Syria.

      And puppies! Something with puppies.

      Did I mention they are on sale? 30% off!!

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