In my last post I explained why it makes logical sense for men to greatly limit the amount of “courtship” they offer women in today’s post sexual revolution sexual and marriage marketplace (SMP & MMP). But this leaves the question of what this means for women, and how they should rationally respond to men’s rational choices.
For women who want to meet and marry a suitable man.
The key to answering the question involves understanding the woman’s primary objective. If the goal is to maximize the amount of courtship she receives, skip below to the section on courting for sex. If a woman’s goal is to meet a suitable husband and get married, then she should focus on that goal and not worry about how much courtship she soaks up in the process. There is nothing magical about meal at a restaurant or other forms of semi-expensive entertainment which conveys the important character traits of a prospective husband. At best these serve as a (very poor) barometer of the man’s financial success.
Many women would also argue that a man spending money on her during a date (especially early dates) expresses a sincere desire to get to know her. In this sense paying for a date serves as a sort of courting earnest money; it demonstrates that the man has some skin in the game. However, the reason women want this proof-of-seriousness is exactly why it isn’t rational for men to offer it. In the past courtship was not only restricted in duration, but it was also generally restricted to people in the man and woman’s extended social circle. While the couple might be strangers to each other, there were generally enough social connections for them (or their families) to learn some basic information about the status and character of the other person before deciding to court. If a man had a history of being a scoundrel, the woman could learn this without ever agreeing to court him. Likewise, if a woman had a history of not taking courtship seriously and stringing along suitors, the man could learn this upfront.
Contrast the past with today, where large numbers of women not only want to extend their period of courtship to a decade and a half, but where they want to date extensively outside of their extended social circle. Anytime you are dealing with strangers it creates a trust deficit. Since men are traditionally the ones who bear the risks in courtship, it isn’t surprising that women want men to demonstrate their seriousness first. However, the problem is that women aren’t doing anything similar in kind. Commenter Robert Slanton linked to an article about a Toronto woman who uses online dating as a source of free meals and entertainment. The problem with women expecting men to expend money on getting to know them is the issue of trusting a stranger runs both ways. While the Toronto woman is unusual in her brazenness, she isn’t the only woman to figure out that online dating is a way to get free dinners.
I assume at this point some of my female readers are saying:
But I’m not like that, and since I’m not men should be willing to pay for a date if they want to get to know me!
Of course you aren’t. But how can a man find out you aren’t like that?
He just needs to ask me on a date and get to know me.
Women who think this way aren’t thinking this all the way through. They are saying men should pay upfront to find out if they are serious or not. The problem is, this makes it nearly impossible to avoid becoming the dupe for women like the one in Toronto. The only way to know she isn’t gaming the system is to enable other women to game the system.
The good news.
As I mentioned before, there is nothing magical about a paid date when it comes to getting to know someone. Men and women can get to know each other and experience attraction for each other in a huge variety of casual and formal interactions. The average woman complaining about not being able to “meet men” (date) has in fact already met very large numbers of single men. Casting a wide net is an excellent idea, but the perception of abundance can at times create a perception that the woman is in a different SMP and especially MMP league than she really is. However, even with this and men’s general pullback from courtship the vast majority of young women do still manage to marry. With this in mind, here is my advice to women looking to find a husband:
- Be young, or more accurately get serious about finding a husband as soon as possible. This not only allows you to choose when your own hand is strongest, but also when your choices are greatest. Picking last is always a terrible strategy, and this is no less true for finding a husband than when buying produce.
- Keep your chastity. Women’s happiness with marriage declines with partner count, and their expectations also rise (without an increase in options).
- Look for market inefficiencies. There is a time around a man’s early twenties when he starts to really show his promise. Such men are just starting to become attractive to women, but haven’t yet gotten used to being attractive. These men are excellent marriage prospects, especially for a woman a few years younger than them. Learn to identify and locate these young men and place yourself in a position to interact with them.
- Don’t lose hope. Just because few men are willing to take you out on paid dates to get to know you, doesn’t rule out the likelihood that a significant number of men would be willing to marry you. Put another way, just because you may be a bad bet for (traditional, expensive) courtship doesn’t mean you are a bad bet for marriage. The same data which shows that women are having a harder time marrying also shows that the vast majority of women still marry, and some of them are marrying well into their 30s. Take advantage of the social interactions you already have to meet men. Women are better than men at sending signals of interest while keeping plausible deniability; don’t be afraid to use this when you think a single man in your larger circle might be a good match. You don’t want to ask him out, but you should probably help him figure out that it is a good idea for him to initiate either dates or other interactions.
- Be as kind and private as possible when rejecting interested men. Rejection comes with the territory, but you don’t want to cause Mr. Right to have reason to avoid making contact.
- If your goal is to marry but not to marry now, let your social circle know you aren’t dating at the moment because you aren’t ready to look for a husband; then follow through with this and don’t date or encourage interest until you are ready to seriously look for a husband.
- When you are ready to look for a husband, let your social circle know this is the case. This will (somewhat) filter out the men who express interest in you for sex, but this filtering is a positive. It would in fact be better if it were more effective at filtering out interest from men looking for sex.
- Make as honest an assessment of your MMP league as possible. You don’t want to set your sights too low, but you also don’t want to turn away men you will only learn too late were your best prospects. Also, be sure not to confuse the league of man you can attract for sex with the league of man you can attract for marriage.
- Don’t settle: If after spending a suitable period of time with a man you find you aren’t falling for him, cut it off (gently) and move along. Don’t worry, another woman will almost undoubtedly be able to fall for this man (if he wasn’t generally attractive you wouldn’t even be considering him).
- Don’t ask a man to be your celibate boyfriend. Waiting for marriage is a good thing, unless you are using it as an excuse to keep the man as a beta orbiter while you consider other options. If you aren’t anxious for the day you marry and can have sex with the man, cut it off. Otherwise, keep the term of your engagement to a minimum.
Courting for sex.
If the goal is maximum courtship, then a woman should (logically, not morally) choose to be courted for sex. There are a number of ways to go about this same basic goal, including looking for a one night hookup, a fling, or a boyfriend. Given the basic similarities between these things, the strategy for finding such men is essentially the same. Many women also use hookups as their intended path to finding a husband.
Being courted for sex is a woman’s best chance to soak up maximum attention and resources from men because the payoff tends to be immediate. While it is fairly unlikely that a woman will marry in the near term, the chances that she will have casual sex in the same time frame are much higher. By moving into this space you lower the risks for men who offer you courtship and will therefore have more takers.
Keep in mind that men who best know how to woo for sex also know that paying for dates before you have sex with them is a terrible bet. However, if you are pleasant and attractive enough and continue having sex with them they will be more likely to pay for dates. Note that players have turned the tables here, and it is now women who have to first demonstrate skin in the game.