Judgment-copying theory of female attraction

The male sex module judges females on the basis of looks – independent of other people’s judgments.

Of course, men make many judgments by all sorts of criteria and those other judgments are neither independent of other people’s opinions nor based primarily on looks. But the male sex-module does judge independently and based on female looks.

The female sex module does not judge males. It is not that it judges by different criteria. No, the female sex module simply is not in the business of judging.

Does a woman lack judgment then? No: most likely she is a sensitive and intelligent person and has all sorts of judgments about the men she meets. Positive and negative, socially agreeable and less agreeable, founded and unfounded.

She has judgment, and judgments. But her sex module does not care about her judgments.

But if her sex module is not in the business of judging and does not care about her judgment, either, then where does her sex module get its judgment from?

The answer is…

The judgment is copied from any other person except her.

If a girl walks by and kisses you, you are more attractive. If a guy walks by and kisses you, you are more attractive. If a guy or girl comes by and playfully strokes your ass, you are more attractive.

And then also: if a girl walks by and respects you for your intelligence, you are more attractive. If a guy walks by and respects you for some achievement, you are more attractive.

Each of these social interactions observed by her implies a positive value judgment of you as a person. The different currencies of value (smart, successful, beautiful) are converted to the general gold-standard of social power, a unidimensional measure. We conjecture that the values are then added up (not averaged) to determine her sexual attraction to you.

Note: if a man (particularly an important man) shows respect for you for non-sex-related reasons, you are more attractive to her *for sex*. The effect on her is similarly direct and immediately sexual as the effect on a man of the the sight of a sexy ass.

Another person’s (sexual or non-sexual) judgment of you, perceived by her, translates into sexual attraction.

This is the judgment-copying mechanism of female attraction.

So, what if there is no one there: just you and her. Well, in that case the only social context that her sex module can copy its judgment from is *you*. If you project high value, she will be attracted.

Say you look like a model and you are very intelligent and you connect with her emotionally, but you are slightly insecure. Will she not see your qualities? Yes, she will see them and appreciate them. And she will also *not* be attracted to you at all. She will think: “This is a hot guy, I like him, we connect, he is smart, I should go out with him.” Her sex module will reply: “I don’t care what you think. Show me a person other than yourself who appreciates him.”

Say you are short and ugly and bald and stupid and you are also quite full of yourself and genuinely convinced that you are irresistible. Well, she will think: “He is short and bald and stupid, and I don’t like the way he looks.” Her sex module will say: “One other person’s judgment successfully copied. This guy is hot for all we know.” And this is how she will *feel* about you.

Consider one hundred men in a room looking at a photo of a nondescript woman projected onto a screen. Each man’s sex module will see and judge independently of the others, but by essentially the same criteria. As a result (perhaps depressingly) all men come to be attracted to the woman to similar degrees.

Consider one hundred women in a room looking at a photo of a nondescript man projected onto a screen. Each woman’s sex module will be in the dark about the attractiveness of the man. On a date, she’d start testing his response to flattery and emotional jostling. (For a man to understand this, it is best to imagine online text chatting with a woman of unknown looks or being on a date with a live woman in a body bag. Imagine having to assess through conversation if she is hot. This is every woman’s situation when she meets a man.) Essentially, her tests serve to elicit his genuine self-judgment, so as to allow that judgment to be copied by her sex module. But now the man is just a photo on a screen. Although his posture and expression might give some clues to his self-judgment, he cannot be tested. So in search of external judgments about the man, the women will look at each other. Starting from essentially no evidence, this sets in motion a recurrent process of mutual judgment copying, which will self-organize and converge on an essentially binary (positive or negative, hot or not) judgment – the judgment of the community as a whole. As a result (perhaps depressingly) all women come to be attracted to the man to similar degrees.

Judgment copying explains why “attraction is not a choice” for females any more than it is for males: While her own judgments are susceptible to her conscious manipulation (she can talk herself into liking something), the other people’s judgments automatically copied by her sex module are not under her control. When she is alone with you, they are – in principle – under *your* control. (But only if you can believe it!) This is why women wondering about you often want to see you with your peers: they want an independent review.

What if her girlfriend loves you (up vote), but you are slightly insecure (down vote). In that case her sex module – while she is with you – will be dominated by your projected negative self-judgment. In other words, it will copy your conviction that you are unworthy and she will not be attracted to you.

“The sage is full of anxiety and indecision in undertaking anything, and so he is always successful.” (Book XXVI, The Texts of Chuang-Tzu). True words – for any endeavor except attracting a woman.

You can have any woman you can manage to feel worthy of – with rocksolid conviction that will not shake under the tough tests that she will not be able to resist presenting you with.

This relates to a more general observation regarding the larger question of love (not just sexual attraction): A man in love is unlovable to the woman he loves – unless she already truly loves him even more. This is because to the extent that he is in love, he will tend to idealize her and make himself feel potentially unworthy. This is a judgment that her sex module will copy. It is not her fault that she will look down on him from the pedestal he placed her on – she cannot help this.

This is why women must lead emotionally.

Conversely, a low opinion of a given woman, ironically, makes a man more attractive to that woman as he is less likely to feel unworthy. A general contempt of women (but not an agitated misogyny revealing weakness) makes a man attractive to all women. (This is not to say that sexual attraction is the only factor that determines women’s selection of men. But it is a substantial factor determining her selection of men to have sex with.)

These are some aspects of the perverse biological constraints we operate under – which, obviously, are nobody’s fault, but the product of evolution.

Judgment copying is constantly on, and it is automatic and involuntary. Any doubts on your part as to your value as a man therefore immediately make her insecure about your value as a man.

As a consequence, we can never expect her to provide validation. A naive man may think: “If I have objective qualities, then she can reassure me of my qualities.” But what defines your value as a man, more than any other quality, is your unreasoning self-conviction. The quintessential unattractive quality is: needy of validation. (By contrast, a needy woman is as attractive or unattractive as her looks.)

When a woman flatters a man and this makes him more confident, her sex module smells the origin of the positive self-judgment he projects (i.e. her) and rejects it. This is because her sex module has nothing but contempt for her judgments.

This is the reason why a man can nurse a woman’s ego. But a woman cannot nurse a man’s ego: if it works, he loses appeal in her eyes, so it will backfire.

This is the origin of the fierce independence required of men and may be part of the reason why men die younger.

We come to an interesting conjecture: It is a prior belief in yourself – beyond reason or any initial evidence – that defines you as an attractive man (see also point XI of this accurate list of maxims). If you need empirical proof or validation, you are needy (of proof or validation) and therefore not attractive.

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6 Responses to “Judgment-copying theory of female attraction”

  1. 11minutes Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote, except this one:

    “The sage is full of anxiety and indecision in undertaking anything, and so he is always successful.” (Book XXVI, The Texts of Chuang-Tzu). True words – for any endeavor except attracting a woman.

    Risk aversion may be an overall bad strategy in life. One reason females are attracted to “fearless leaders” is their success in life due to heavy risk taking.

    It is like an inverse Taleb (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/) – big losses due to risk are actually much more rare than we think/feel.

    Stock market traders, for example, point out that individuals generally do better when “paper trading” virtual money than when actual money is at stake. Our emotional system seems to be biased towards avoiding risk, which prevents us from realizing beneficial risk/reward ratios.

    To the intellectual, many world leaders often seem to be overconfident and even deluded in their convictions. But to the social group as a whole (such as the US voter pool), this strength in opinion (which enables quick decisions and high risk taking) outweighs the lack of reflection. And there might be good reason to chose such individuals as leaders. A platonic philosopher as head of state may be too anxious to enable great economic success – even though such an individual would be bulletproof against any blowjob-by-intern affair.

  2. Three theories of female sexual attraction « stage two Says:

    […] two a blog about sexuality, culture, and politics « Judgment-copying theory of female attraction Zadie Smith (On Beauty) […]

  3. Double-date bench sitting arrangements « stage two Says:

    […] guys. (b) boosts b1’s value in g1’s eyes more, especially if g2 and b1 connect reasonably (judgment-copying, jealousy). (b) also boosts g1’s excitement (or “buying temperature”) more, especially if […]

  4. cartman Says:

    I found this theory very fascinating. Did you get it from some source? If yes then could you please give me some links to delve further into this theory. Couldn’t find much on google.
    Also, there is this other theory about self monitoring and attractiveness/popularity. It seems to contradict this one.

  5. stagetwo Says:

    this particular theory is my own. more generally related ideas are on 11minute’s blog (http://alpha-status.blogspot.com/) and the blogs linked there. if you sent a link the self-monitoring/attractiveness theory, i’d have a look at that.

  6. Big FIG Says:

    I Agree with the theory.

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