Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why Women Date A%@holes - An Evolutionary Perspective

Redneck A&%hole Doorbell

According to some surveys, 51% of women fantasize about being raped.

If you're anything like me, that's shocking.  Utterly shocking.  Some women, on some level, seem to want to be hurt? That's seems crazy!  WHY?!

That's not the only shocking thing about women.  Think of your single female friends.  How often do you hear a woman say, "How do I always wind up with @$$holes?"  You know how it goes.  Nice guys always finish last.  Women seem to like bad boys, jerks, cocky womanizers, sleeze balls.  Why is that true of so many of our female friends?  

Why do women date a#%holes?!

Furthermore, as a heterosexual male who's interested in what women are attracted to, I find it strange that women are so magnetically attracted to men that are funny.  When you think about it, it really can be as shallow as men liking big boobed bimbo beauties - both are just forms of entertainment, one visual, one mental.  Why is it that a guy can be a shallow, two-faced, gutter louse, but if he can make a girl giggle he can have her?  And does evolutionary psychology have anything to say about this subject?  Of course!

Quick evolution review:  Living organisms want to do two things: survive and reproduce.  When picking a mate you want two things from their genes: that they'll help your offspring survive and reproduce.



Survival is easy to understand - pick a mate that shows signs of being healthy - ornate plumage, coloration, antlers, capable of physically demanding displays or competition, etc.

Picking a mate that will help your offspring reproduce is quite a bit more complicated.   It's a surprisingly farsighted way of thinking for some lowly animals.  You aren't just thinking about the next generation.  You're actually thinking ahead to your children's children (completely unbeknownst to them, of course).  At that point it isn't just picking out what you like. You have to think about what other females want, sometimes for seemingly arbitrary reasons.  This is called the Sexy Son Hypothesis.  You want to pick a father that isn't just healthy and has good genes, but you want to pick a male mate that will produce sons that other females will think is attractive so that they'll reproduce and your genes will continue on.

Enter trouble.

Think about how this can go sinisterly and utterly wrong.  Evolution can cause women to be attracted to something that's bad for them like rape or being with a manipulative jerk if it means that their male offspring are more likely to reproduce because of having that attribute.  The classic example of this is the one we've already referred to - rape.  Over countless generations women may be selected for that are attracted to aggressive, anti-social, risk-taking, domineering, power-hungry, abusive men if that increases their offspring's fecundity.  Say it ain't so, but it is.  Thankfully that isn't the only or even largest selective force, but it's there and explains a lot about women's choices.

Back to the humor question.  Why are women attracted to cocky quick-wits?

What attributes does humor demonstrate and what's their relevance?

    • High IQ - the brain can serve as a 'peacock's tail' and demonstrate genetic superiority.  Half the human genome encodes for brain phenotypes.  If half the genes are good, the rest probably are, too.  Translation: if you can say a good pick up line and make a girl laugh you might have good enough genes to reproduce with.
    • Socially savvy - you have to understand people if you're going to be able to work your way up the social hierarchy ladder and have a large harem or high quality monogamous relationships.  Humor flexes your social understanding muscles.
    • Confidence/dominance - same basic idea.  Status is important.  It's how you get high quality mates or high quantity mates.  Being funny typically means you're confident, which means you can succeed social (or have), which means your sons may, too.
So, there's part of evolution's answer to a question I've had for a very long time.  Women want what other women want, who want what other women want, who want what other women want, infinitum.  In other words, women date a*%holes so their sons will also be a#%holes.


  1. i think this can take on several dimensions. most woman romanticize the idea of adventure and risk,someone outside of the box. their intention may not match reality or what ends up being revealed later on in the relationship. a man with a back bone, one who takes charge, funny, the life of the party, a "salesmanny" type, popular and confident can be very alluring and seen as sexy to women but that is unfortunately twisted into what can turn into a machismo controlling verbally abusive partner. i dont think all a-hole guys manifest these blatant obtrusive qualities at first. or maybe if they do it has to do with a woman's perception of herself and men. what was her father like?.. and so on. This also makes me think about Robby Bell's book Sex God. whether or not people are spiritual, there is a battle (or whatever you wanna call it) between the angel and the animal. the spiritual and the physical. some women want to get under so they can get over..and the nice guys usually aren't the ones to have a one night stand. that right there is an example of conflict within a woman dealing with her emotions (or a way to not deal with them) by acting out animalistically. Good things come to those who wait.. who are patient.. but that can be very difficult for women.

  2. Wow, there's a lot of truth in that little paragraph. I very much appreciate that. Can you elaborate on "under to get over"? They get physical to get emotionally past something?

  3. yes. whether it be someone else they are trying to get over or something they may be dissatisfied with. be it an uneventful season in their life.. lonliness, or even a test to see whether or not they can actually prove to themselves that its possible to get under and not develope a "soul tie". thats a whole nutha dealeo.


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