Max-Mate

Book by Tucker Max, first published as Mate: Become the Man Women Want then as What Women Want ISBN:0316375365

Excerpts

INTRODUCTION—A NEW APPROACH TO MATING EDUCATION

to be successful in mating, you simply have to become the kind of man (Kind of Person that women have evolved to want (EvoPsych?)

We’ll explain the five principles for successful mating to give you a nice functional framework, and then we’ll walk you through the five steps for getting your mating life together

THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF MATING SUCCESS

As with most things in life, mating is a complex system with a deep evolutionary logic and a few essential principles at its core. To be successful at it, you must understand these principles and then apply them to your choices and actions in the infinite number of situations you will find yourself in over the course of your life.

THE FIRST PRINCIPLE: MAKE DECISIONS WITH SCIENCE (NOT BIAS)

Science respects reality and helps you take responsibility for what you believe, while resisting dogma, superstition, and overconfidence in the process

THE SECOND PRINCIPLE: ACCOUNT FOR THE WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE

So, throughout this book, we’ll focus on understanding women on several levels

All of this boils down to a simple principle: If you always try to understand the woman’s perspective—what they want, why they want it, and how to ethically give it to them—then you will find it much easier to become attractive to them, and you’ll be much more successful with your mating efforts

THE THIRD PRINCIPLE: OWN YOUR ATTRACTIVENESS

this is just a guide—for it to work, you must do the work

a core principle from the ancient Stoics through Nietzsche and from existentialism to modern psychotherapy

women don’t really “choose” to be attracted to you. They are attracted to some features (biologically

The downside of taking responsibility for your attractiveness is that becoming a better man will take a good amount of work. The upside is that taking charge of your attractiveness will help you have great experiences and relationships with great women that yield benefits in every other domain of life: health, money, happiness, altruism, and self-actualization

This is because the “better boyfriend” ideal overlaps a lot with the ideals of manhood that most men aspire to.

THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE: BE HONEST (WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS)

Honesty builds your social status, which improves mating success over the long term. Most women expect that most men are lying most of the time, and they hate it

Lying reduces your long-term mating success

Lying makes you feel like shit, and it hurts your life

THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE: PLAY TO WIN-WIN

Your mating goal is to find and create “win-win” relationships, where both you and the woman are better off because of your interaction

Think of mating as finding women who want the same things you want—so you can both win

FROM THE FIVE PRINCIPLES TO THE FIVE-STEP PROCESS

principles alone are not good enough. Men also need a clear set of instructions for specific actions

The five steps are

1. Get your head straight

2. Develop attractive traits

3. Display attractive proofs

4. Go where the women are:

5. Take action

These steps are simple to understand, but they’re not always easy to accomplish

STEP ONE  Get Your Head Straight

CHAPTER 1: BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE

Confidence is the realistic expectation you have of being successful at something, given (a) your competence at it and (b) the risk involved with doing it

CONFIDENCE REFLECTS COMPETENCE

How can you realistically judge the likelihood of your success in a unique moment like that—or in any domain of life? Your brain does it by unconsciously integrating a bunch of data from your memory and your current state

There is pretty much no way around this dynamic. Evolution forced us to develop confidence levels that accurately tracked our competencies

BUILD CONFIDENCE THROUGH DEMONSTRATED PERFORMANCE

The only effective strategy for gaining real confidence is to develop skills and demonstrate performance of those skills

In any domain, you have to go through the valley of genuinely low confidence before you can reach the peak of genuinely high confidence

This perspective can give you a kind of metaconfidence: you’re confident that you will be able to improve your competence at any skill if you work at it

The more skills you learn, the more domains you master and traits you cultivate, the more experienced you’ll get at pushing through the low-confidence barrier… and the more confidence you will build

CONFIDENCE IS USUALLY DOMAIN-SPECIFIC

You don’t have just one overall confidence level that covers every aspect of life, because that would be stupid and maladaptive

MATING CONFIDENCE ADDS UP ACROSS THE DOMAINS THAT MATTER TO WOMEN

Mating confidence is the sum of every specific kind of confidence you feel about every domain of competence that matters to women

The only way to build true confidence around women is to build the competencies they desire.

That’s this whole book: a systematic way to boost your true mating confidence through boosting the mating-related skills that women care about and respond to

CONFIDENCE IS ALSO ABOUT MOMENTUM

If you’ve had no sex with any women in the last year, you’re less likely to attract women—even if you have attractive traits—because you are more likely to put off an asexual loser vibe

sexual success is a positive feedback loop (sex begets sex); whereas sexual failure is a downward spiral

This momentum effect in confidence is related to a cool idea in social psychology called the “sociometer theory.”

the sociometer reads high, we tend to approach new friends and mates and seek new opportunities for status, capitalizing on our recent success and popularity. If the sociometer reads low, we tend to avoid strangers, withdraw from public interactions

Modern versions of sociometer theory argue that there’s not just one overall sociometer

your mating sociometer reflects how well you’ve been doing with women over the last few weeks or months, and that mating momentum effect, along with your actual mating competencies, determines your mating confidence

PUSH THROUGH LOW CONFIDENCE AND DEPRESSION WITH A GROWTH MINDSET

The only way to lose is to not practice

for now let’s just acknowledge that it is not uncommon to find oneself on a downward spiral of low confidence, passivity, failure, and shame

Here are some clues that you’re stuck in the downward spiral:

The first step off this downward spiral is to acknowledge these bad feelings as natural

Another crucial element in moving your brain from panic to logic is to cultivate the emotional intelligence to wrap words around those feelings

when people identify their own emotions consciously, using accurate words—“afraid,” “angry,” “anxious”—the amygdala, that little biological threat sensor in the brain, calms down almost instantly

You can tame your negative emotions to some degree just by calling them their true names

The big leap out of the low-self-esteem spiral, though, is to adopt a “growth mindset”—a concept developed by psychologist Carol Dweck

A growth mindset sparks a love of learning and resilience in the face of obstacles that are essential for great accomplishment

The next step is to get out of your head—your own anxieties (Anxiety) and insecurities—and get inside the heads of the opposite sex

Takeaways

CHAPTER 2: UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A WOMAN

As a man, it is impossible to be better at mating until you understand the subjective experience of a woman, because it is fundamentally different than yours in many ways

when a woman interacts with a man, she is afraid of being physically harmed or sexually assaulted

And their fears don’t stop at physical harm; they are just as vulnerable to social and emotional harm as well

SHE IS TIRED OF BEING OBJECTIFIED, SO SUBJECTIFY HER INSTEAD

Ironically, a great way to understand a woman’s point of view is to think of her as a marketing consumer: a savvy customer evaluating your products (traits) and ads (proofs) to see if they’ll add value to her life

SHE IS PHYSICALLY VULNERABLE, AND SHE KNOWS IT

For instance, if a woman seems like she’s sending “mixed messages

it’s not that she’s being weird or manipulative (at least, typically). It’s that she’s trying to express interest from a defensive posture, and she’s got a hair-trigger threat-detection system that makes her withdraw into her shell when you start pushing too hard

SHE’S BEEN DEALING WITH CREEPY DOUCHEBAGS FOR A LONG TIME

A woman can tell how well your life is going from how you look, in about two seconds

from a woman’s point of view, most guys she meets will be less kind, less agreeable, less empathic, less conscientious, less reliable, less clean—less everything really—than she and her friends are

Think about women’s experiences with guys like a city cop’s experience with people in general

SHE’S PROBABLY JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, AND YOU NEED TO BE OKAY WITH THAT

The average guy finds the average woman at least somewhat sexually attractive

By contrast, the average woman finds the average man sexually invisible, neutral, disgusting, or repulsive

Another reason she’s not attracted to most men is that she thinks their outfits are stupid and their clothes don’t fit

She also knows what your body would look like naked, and she probably thinks you’re either a lazy loser (out of shape) or a narcissistic gym rat (in too-good shape

Where it gets problematic is when you don’t get the picture and she has to tell you, because women don’t like having to reject men explicitly

They’re just instinctively trying to reduce the risk of provoking harassment or stalking or violent retaliation.

Here’s how women tell you they aren’t into you: their first line of defense is simply to play it cool, professional, and neutral

they might escalate the subtle rejection vibes by acting in a way that naive young men interpret as “cold” or “stuck up” or “bitchy

SHE ALREADY KNOWS SHE’S PRETTY, AND SHE’S STILL SELF-CONSCIOUS

Better yet, don’t tell her anything. Ask her about her interests, ambitions, friends, background—anything that requires some social intelligence to appreciate

Yet here is the great irony about female beauty: she’s still very self-conscious about her face and her body and her clothes and her accessories

She’s got a bit of impostor syndrome about her own erotic power

The problem is that they almost never get accurate feedback about what image they’re projecting

And if you want to turn her self-consciousness up to 11, be the guy who can’t seem to pick up on her signs of interest in you either

SHE IS WORRIED ABOUT HER SOCIAL STATUS, AND YOU’RE A BIG PART OF THAT

females compete against other females for resources that matter to them

But just as you seek social approval from guys you don’t really respect, women seek social approval from women they don’t really respect

they worry a lot more about their sexual reputations

Specifically, they fret about the existential reputational threat posed by slut-shaming in modern society

Women are vicious to each other about slut-shaming

it’s important to realize that female slut-shaming isn’t the product of some deep self-loathing or in-group hatred. Rather, it is as prevalent as it is because a promiscuous rival is a woman’s biggest threat to keeping a good boyfriend

mate poaching

downward spiral of young women feeling like they have to offer more and more sex to more and more guys just to stay in the mating game. Thus, slut-shaming is a way of enforcing a more restrained sexual norm

Given the risk of slut-shaming, a typical female strategy is to pursue short-term mating quietly, with a lot of plausible deniability, adaptive self-deception, and circumstantial rationalization

Understanding all this is especially important if you meet a woman who’s with her friends

So guys in that situation should not try to steal a woman away from her friends as soon as possible. Instead, just get her number so you can text her about getting together later, in private

If she starts dating you, that too will affect her status within her peer group, either positively or negatively.

You can do everyone a huge favor before you even get to this stage by making an effort in that initial moment of contact to charm her friends

SHE’S TERRIFIED OF PREGNANCY, ABANDONMENT, AND STDS

Their instinctive worry about unwanted pregnancy is often stronger than their conscious trust in birth control

For STDs like gonorrhea, genital herpes, or HPV, it’s much easier for the viruses or bacteria to go from your penis to her vagina than vice versa

In fact, she cares more about how you smell than you can imagine

SHE IS JUST AS FRUSTRATED BY DATING AS YOU ARE

it is much harder for a highly attractive woman to get what she wants, sexually and romantically, than it is for a highly attractive man

She usually wants a boyfriend, at least

This is due in no small part to her struggle to understand her own taste in men

She’s also frustrated by the dating scene because time is running out

If you don’t realize that even the very first hour of talking with her constitutes a type of relationship that needs some level of mutual respect and nurturance, she will especially not have sex with you

whether you’ll break her heart. Women naturally fall for guys they’ve had several orgasms with. The oxytocin magic works reliably. This makes them emotionally vulnerable.

All of this makes the dating scene incredibly frustrating for women

SHE HAS SEXUAL FANTASIES JUST LIKE YOU DO, EXCEPT SHE GETS A BUNCH OF SHIT FOR HERS

The Fifty Shades series has sold more than 100 million copies for a reason

women are more prone to sexual disgust than guys are

And just to add insult to injury, she knows she probably won’t reach orgasm the first few times she sleeps with you

Also, she resents your putting pressure on her to orgasm

PRACTICE PERSPECTIVE-TAKING

But what about at the specific, individual female level? How do you grow your insights into her point of view? How do you subjectify her? You do it by practicing perspective-taking

pick out a woman in the crowd (a pretty classmate, a customer, the barista), and for a few minutes imagine yourself in her skin

ask yourself questions like these

You won’t necessarily guess the right answers, and you should never go up and ask her

This is just a thought experiment for you to practice

Takeaways

CHAPTER 3: CLARIFY YOUR MATING GOALS AND ETHICS

so much of the generally accepted “wisdom” about sex is based on a two-sided lie

Lie 1 is that all women pretend to be more comfortable with short-term mating than they really

Lie 2 is that all men pretend to be more open to longer-term mating than they really are

Regardless of what you want from your mating life, there are a lot of women who want the same thing. You just need to find them and connect with them

A relationship is a consensual mating interaction between two parties that, ideally, is win-win for both of them

Your job is to figure out which of the three types of relationships you want right now: short term, medium term, or long term

SHORT-TERM RELATIONSHIPS (aka “hookups

centered around one encounter

typically culminates in some sort of sexual activity, whose end also signals the end of the relationship

There are good things about hooking up. There are also limiting factors that are neither good nor bad—they just are—that you need to consider when figuring out your mating goal

The Good

The Bad

The Limits

MEDIUM-TERM RELATIONSHIPS

(aka “dating,” “friends with benefits,” “seeing somebody”)

The Good

The Bad

The Limits

LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS

(aka “committed mating,” “boyfriend-girlfriend,” “partners,” “marriage”)

The Good

The Bad

The Limits

RELATIONSHIP TYPE RECAP

WHICH RELATIONSHIP IS RIGHT FOR YOU, RIGHT NOW?

you need to think for yourself

For any number of legitimate reasons, you may just have no idea what you want. That’s okay. Let’s try to figure it out

Where’s Your Head at Right Now?

So what’s your mating goal? Write it down. Seriously—literally write it down. Like, with a pen or pencil. Do it right here on this page

CLARIFYING YOUR MATING ETHICS

For now, we’ll just suggest a few basic moral tests you can use to guide your mating life in specific situations

These are just questions to ask yourself when a moral dilemma arises, like “Should I try to have sex with this woman even though she’s drunk?”

This is not about us lecturing you. Clarifying your mating ethics also helps build your sexual self-confidence

And guys with clear ethical values and strong moral virtues are also highly attractive to women, which doesn’t hurt either.

Takeaways

STEP TWO  Develop Attractive Traits

CHAPTER 4: UNDERSTAND WHAT WOMEN WANT… AND WHY

So your only practical and ethical point of leverage is to transform yourself into the kind of guy who completes their attraction circuits

Don’t Hate the Player or the Game

In game theory, a game is composed of players, payoffs, and rules

in the human mating game, women don’t own the casino. They don’t benefit by you failing. In fact, they want you to succeed because human mating should be a win-win interaction for both sexes. Rather, it is marketers and scammers who are running the casino. The more you fail with women, the more easily they can manipulate you into buying whatever they’re selling—the American Apparel lifestyle

WOMEN EVOLVED TO WANT EFFECTIVE MEN

they hold true at a deep unconscious level across all women, regardless of culture, ethnicity, social groups, or tribe. Fundamentally, they pick the same male traits over and over again and for good reasons

To understand what traits women want in males, you have to understand what benefits women want from males

six most romantic words a man can say to a woman

are “Don’t worry honey, I got this”—which means: we face a real problem together as a couple, but I can totally handle it as a man. I’m effective

Females throughout nature favor effective males

ability to be effective

willingness to use those effective traits

Ability is signaled through all five of the key traits and the four key proofs that we discuss throughout the book. Willingness is signaled mostly by the tender-defender trait (Chapter 9) and romantic proof (Chapter 14).

In biology, effectiveness is called fitness

Our goal is to teach you how to be as effective as possible in as many domains as possible so that more women will find you more attractive

need to be effective—in all the main domains of life: health, family, friends, work, play, and knowledge

JUMPSTART YOUR ATTRACTIVENESS: REDUCE YOUR INEFFECTIVENESS

for most guys, trying to increase effectiveness is less effective than reducing ineffectiveness

First, stop sucking. That gets you in the game

Effectiveness is sexually attractive to most women most of the time, but ineffectiveness is sexually disgusting to all women all of the time

Thus, apart from cultivating signs of effectiveness, it can be even more important to stop showing signs of ineffectiveness

It means you can work the asymmetry to your advantage by identifying and fixing your weak spots rather than staying stuck trying to perfect yourself in life domains that you’ve already handled well

THE THREE BASIC FORMS OF EFFECTIVENESS

prerequisites for effective fatherhood

Women have three main concerns in assessing your value

1. Does he carry good genes?

2. Will he be a good partner?

So if you make yourself into an attractive potential boyfriend, then your sexual options become unlimited

3. Would he make a good dad?

WOMEN CONSIDER ALL THE TRAITS THAT MIGHT BE RELEVANT TO FUTURE REPRODUCTION

Attraction is an emotional, unconscious reaction to the suite of traits men present to women; it is NOT a conscious decision that they deliberate about

instinctive checklist of what constitutes Mr. Right or Wife Material can get pretty long

But the fact that women care about many different things in men is actually great news for you. How depressing would it be if you were a peacock with a mediocre tail?

This means you have many options on your path to attractiveness

The more of your traits you improve, the more joy you bring to women

Takeaways

CHAPTER 5: GET IN SHAPE  (THE PHYSICAL HEALTH TRAIT)

nothing will do more to increase your prospects and help achieve your mating goals than being in shape.

Physical health matters at a deep biological level, and female choice is a deeply biological activity

good physical health is when the body of a living organism is functioning the way it was designed to function by evolution

You don’t need the perfect body

good enough shape is good enough

In fact, perfect can be the enemy of good

screams “narcissistic gym rat

With physical health what you need are the visible, nonverbal displays—the things a woman can actually see with her own two eyes—that signal your body’s ability to do lots of things and be good at them

your overall fitness, your energy and sexual vigor

(1) good genes, (2) good partner traits, and (3) good father traits

Good physical health is one of the most reliable “honest signals” of overall genetic fitness because it is very hard to fake

Healthy men also make better lovers and deliver more sexual pleasure to women. Aerobic endurance predicts how long and hard you can have sex

cardiovascular fitness (how well your blood supply works) predicts erectile function (how hard your penis can get

Beyond sex, physical health predicts literally how much work you can do

getting shit done

The protective capacity of a physically healthy man cannot be overlooked

Physical health predicts how well you can sire children

Physical health predicts whether you’ll be a long-lived, helpful, healthy, capable dad to your children (and grandchildren

IMPROVE YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH

There are three factors that basically determine your entire physical health: (1) sleep, (2) nutrition, and (3) exercise

1. Sleep More

There are six key areas to focus on for good sleep

Pitch-Black Room

Night-Time Screen Exposure

Ideally, you should avoid electronic screens for two hours before going to bed

What’s especially important not to do in these two hours before bed is anything involving social media

The next-best solution is to install software on your computer (something like f.lux software) that converts your computer’s blue light to soft candlelight

Consistency

Temperature

65–70 degrees

Consumption

For most guys, alcohol works as a stimulant before it becomes a depressant. On normal nights, limit your alcohol intake to two drinks, and make sure you have the last drink at least two hours before bed

Avoid eating too much right before you go to bed. It’s hard to sleep on a full stomach

Anxiety

2. Eat Better

Eat mostly unprocessed, natural, fresh foods that humans are biologically designed to eat—like meats, vegetables, nuts, and fats—and you will be healthy. Avoid everything else as if it were poison.

The Three Rules of Healthy Eating

1. Don’t eat anything with sugar in it

2. Don’t eat anything with grains in it.

3. Eat anything else you want.

3. Exercise Smarter

Having good physical health means being physically STRONG

more testosterone that cuts gut fat

The Four Basic Principles of Effective Strength Workouts

1. GO HEAVY

2. GO FAST

    1. DO COMPOUND MOVEMENTS:*

4. NO CHRONIC CARDIO:

high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is amazingly effective

Focus on how many watts of power you can generate at peak effort

Beginner Option #1 (cheap): Air Squats and Push-ups

less than an hour total… per week

Total Time: ~20 minutes

The key to this workout is intensity

Ideally, you’ll finish every workout exhausted

Do this for thirty days and you will see changes to your body

If you see results and want to move up to more advanced workouts, add other body-weight exercises (like pull-ups, dips, burpees, wall sits, and ab rollouts).

Beginner Option #2 (expensive): CrossFit

Plus, CrossFit is an awesome way to meet women because it attracts people who are positive, hard-working, fun, smart, and hot

DISPLAY YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH

Your Appearance

Posture/body language

standing tall, sitting upright, and taking up a little more space in a chair or at a party

Clothes: Wearing nice clothes that fit well

not too loose but also not too tight

Your Interaction

Physical contact

simple things like shaking hands, hugging, light touches, sitting close, and other random forms of contact

Activity dates

dancing, hiking, playing with dogs, playing sports she enjoys

Sex

lift her up, move her around, and be physically dominant in bed

Your Skills

Physical leisure activities: Once you’re in decent shape, it’s also great to learn useful and difficult physical skills that are also interesting and fun.

shooting, riding motorcycles, skiing/snowboarding, surfing, bicycling, boating, ice-skating, in-line skating, scuba diving, racquet sports, indoor climbing, outdoor technical climbing, and bar games like billiards and darts

Dancing

Latin

Manly stuff

hiking, climbing, throwing, weight lifting, swimming, hunting, horseback riding, boating, making a fire, camping, and driving a stick shift

suburban-dad skills, like using hand tools and power tools, fixing plumbing and electrical problems, assembling furniture, mowing grass, and doing car maintenance

Team sports

Combat/martial arts

new ways of using and displaying your body

Takeaways

CHAPTER 6: GET HAPPY  (THE MENTAL HEALTH TRAIT)

The last twenty years of positive psychology research has shown that happiness is really just an overall sense that life is going well

quiet contentment

getting enjoyment out of your daily activities and your life

Enjoying life is hugely attractive to women and a signal of good mental health

humor, resilience, playfulness, and openness

Emotional resilience in the face of stress and setbacks is a powerful indicator of emotional stability, maturity, confidence, and optimism

IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

THINGS YOU CAN CHANGE RIGHT NOW

The first three things you can work on right now to improve your mental health are the exact same things we outlined in the previous chapter to improve your physical health—sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

    1. Get More Sleep*

2. Eat Better

Every time your mood feels a little low, don’t eat any carbs. Instead, eat some bacon

Eat it while watching some stand-up comedy clips on YouTube

3. Exercise More

4. Get More Sunshine

vitamin D, one of nature’s most potent antidepressants and health boosters. You can take vitamin D supplements, but they don’t work as well as sunshine.

30 minutes of sunshine per day

5. Do Lots of Small Spontaneous Things You Enjoy

3–5 small, enjoyable things spaced throughout each day

Focus on things that increase your social engagement and support

6. Do Mindfulness Meditation

Exercise: How to Meditate like a Real Man

That’s the mindfulness part. It sounds easy, but it’s actually a real challenge to stay focused on breathing without getting caught up in your inner monologue

Count how many times your mind wanders

If you can get that down to less than ten times in ten minutes, you’re approaching Zen master level

twenty minutes a day

Mindfulness helps you develop the same skills taught in cognitive behavioral therapy, one of the most effective psychotherapies: accepting your negative thoughts and anxious feelings as they come and go without taking them too seriously and then moving past them

MENTAL HEALTH IMPROVEMENTS THAT TAKE MORE TIME

1. Improve Your Circle of Friends and Your Social Relationships

2. Move to a Better Place

3. Get a Good Therapist (if needed)

DISPLAY YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

1. Be Happy

Fill your day with lots of little things that make you happy—and then smile about them with the woman who’s there

2. Be Funny

3. Be Playful

There are lots of ways like that to be playful. It just requires reawakening your inner eight-year-old kid, combining it with your inner fourteen-year-old goofball self, and mixing in a dash of adult observational comedy

bring a woman to a place that’s actually hilarious, like Chuck. E. Cheese

Make stupid, self-deprecating jokes

Teasing

humor and playfulness directed at the other person

Goof around when you’re killing time

shopping at Target. These can either be tedious chores that make you grumpy around a woman or ripe opportunities for playfulness

Playfulness is a mindset. It’s about seeing the objects, people, and situations around you as occasions for fun

4. Be Open

Openness is a general mindset that proclaims, “That looks cool. I’ve never done that before. I’ll give that a try.” You can demonstrate openness by exposing yourself to new things, foods, people, places, and cultures without getting overwhelmed, stressed, or destabilized

5. Be Resilient and Adaptable

Mental resilience is a form of emotional intelligence.

Fortunately, just as you can practice humor with your guy friends, you can practice resilience in your ordinary life

How would James Bond handle this? (or whoever your strong, effective male idol is).

there is a very simple way to practice your resilience and adaptability with women: STOP. FUCKING. COMPLAINING.

Takeaways

CHAPTER 7: SMARTEN UP  (THE INTELLIGENCE TRAIT)

our society values brainpower and brilliance over brawn and breeding to such a degree that intelligence is now the primary driver of your economic, social, and mating success.

This isn’t just true in school and work. It’s also true in short-term mating (in ways that it took science years to understand). And it’s especially true in medium- and long-term mating

If you’re smart and girls ignored you in high school or college, you might be skeptical

Aside from athletic talent, friends, social status, and a good sense of humor, what did those guys have that you didn’t have? That question answers itself: those four qualities you dismissed are actually clues to intelligence

They were effective at the things women want

That’s one reason why marines, cops, firefighters, and paramedics (professions not known for their Mensa membership) are so appealing to women.

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT INTELLIGENCE

there are so many amazingly brilliant dudes out there who are failures with women

If that’s you, you need to broaden your concept of intelligence so you can display it in ways that women actually care about

There’s a lot of scientific evidence now that women feel strong romantic attraction to these facets of general intelligence:

1. Social intelligence (SI):

2. Emotional intelligence (EI):

3. Verbal intelligence (VI):

4. Practical intelligence (PI):

5. Mating intelligence (MI):

6. Academic intelligence (AI):

Here’s the frustrating part of academic intelligence, however: women have not evolved to feel romantic attraction to your raw IQ. They don’t care that you have a Mensa card. Your intellectual ability is not appealing—what’s appealing to women is what you do with your intelligence, as displayed through your social, emotional, verbal, practical, and mating intelligences.

IMPROVE YOUR INTELLIGENCE

genes do put some constraints

there are many ways you can help your brain

Some involve cultivating specific intelligences

Some of them just require avoiding lifestyle choices that handicap the brain

some of the same things that handicap physical and mental health

1. Sleep and Nutrition

2. Learn New Things

If you gain real expertise in any one thing, that can be your window into understanding everything

What should be your first, one thing to master? Why not start with the things you already love?

What Do You Really Know About?

Let’s find out: Set a timer for sixty minutes, and write a Wikipedia entry about it

If you can’t actually explain your favorite topic, go learn more

3. Get Jobs That Develop Specific Intelligences

Choose the jobs that can help you overcome your personal weaknesses, amplify your strengths, and broaden your horizons

Here are just a few of our favorite job recommendations for young guys seeking to get smarter about life:

Waiter/server/bartender:

Sales:

Working overseas:

Start-up companies:

Countries with Lots of English Speakers

You don’t need to learn a foreign language to have fun working and meeting women abroad

Argentina • Austria • Belgium • Denmark • Finland • France • Germany • Hungary • Malaysia • Netherlands • Norway • Sweden • Switzerland

4. Hang Out with Intelligent People

5. Take Gap Years during Formal Education

So take a gap year—or three. If you wait, you’ll grow up before you go to college instead of during it.

Even if it’s too late for you to take a gap year

  • it’s useful to think about what you would have done if you had taken a gap year—and then schedule those activities into your life*

6. Pursue the Right Kind of Education for You

You do not need educational credentials to be a viable mate. You just need to get in the habit of learning, thinking, and exploring and then using that intelligence in ways that make your life better—which is what women want to see.

That said, formal education does have its uses in signaling intelligence

If you are applying to colleges now, go to the most selective, most famous school you can get into

Which Colleges Are Actually Prestigious Enough to Be Worth the Money?

DISPLAY YOUR INTELLIGENCE

She sees how you cope with mental challenges, and she unconsciously evaluates your intelligence. She asks herself things like, Does he move gracefully and thoughtfully, or clumsily? Does he talk in interesting ways about diverse topics? Does he use good eye contact, facial expressions, and empathy? Does he know how to pronounce ratatouille on the prix fixe menu (if you have taken her to a fancy restaurant)?

Here are the best indicators of intelligence, in descending order of importance to women:

1. Sense of Humor

2. Conversation and Storytelling

3. Creativity and Creative Skills

Revive Some Skills

You probably spent hundreds of hours practicing some kind of creative skill as a kid

It’s way easier to revive and repurpose a lapsed skill than to learn a new skill from scratch

4. Teaching and Explaining

whatever you’ve learned, try to get comfortable with sharing it and helping women understand it better

the ability to explain that knowledge and teach that skill to her so she can use it for herself is very appealing. It demonstrates virtually every kind of intelligence

5. Keep It Simple, and Know When to Shut Up

have the confidence to ask what it means

keeping things simple. Don’t express strong views about complex topics if you don’t understand them.

don’t brag about your raw intelligence. Shut up about your SAT scores, your IQ, your GPA, and your class rank

Show women, don’t tell them

Takeaways

CHAPTER 8: GET YOUR LIFE TOGETHER  (THE WILLPOWER TRAIT)

Willpower is the drive, resilience, and perseverance to pursue your long-term goals and honor your core values despite short-term temptations, distractions, and emotional impulses

Men with willpower are effective

While intelligence is fairly fixed (at least, fixed close to the genetic set point), you can change your willpower quite easily

Most importantly, you can change how you exercise self-control by changing from a self-punishing mindset to a self-compassionate mindset

In fact, one of the easiest but most effective ways to boost your willpower is to simply practice feeling more empathy toward your own future self: “What would I do today if I really cared about the self that I’ll be a year from now?”

it’s like having a self-improvement superpower

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT WILLPOWER

conscientious determination to do the right things for a long time, until they become part of who you are

In all cultures studied so far, the women show higher average conscientiousness than the men

across forty-six nations, higher conscientiousness predicts a stronger tendency to form long-term relationships and less interest in short-term mating. So women can use conscientiousness as a signal of your ability to make a romantic commitment

IMPROVE YOUR WILLPOWER—ADOPT A SELF-COMPASSION MINDSET

The discipline to resist temptation is part of willpower, but it’s only the negative facet—the part about what not to do

sounds a lot like your parents

That kind of inner argument is exactly the wrong way to succeed with willpower

Even if you succeed in making the “right” decision, it will feel like the wrong decision to the part of you that wants to do the “wrong” thing, and that outcome creates resentment, frustration, and a self-punishment mindset

Instead

take a self-compassionate mindset. Think of willpower as the way to cultivate more positive outcomes, habits, and traits. It is dedication to your life goals based on realistic but challenging ambitions.

It’s not about turning down that fourth whiskey because you’re being hard on yourself. Rather, you’re turning it down because you have more important shit to do that your future self will be very grateful for

The positive side of willpower is the power to do and to frame all of your I won’ts as being in the service of those higher I wills. Once you do that, you’re no longer using your willpower to oppress and disappoint half of yourself. You’re using it to create the future self that you really care about. Thus, willpower is really just being as kind as you can to the man you want to become.

Exercise: Fix Your Nasty Self-Talk

When guys with low self-compassion fuck something up, they use really nasty self-talk

practice playing the devil’s advocate to challenge your harsh self-judgment

BUILD THE RIGHT FOUNDATION

Sleep: Again with the sleep? Yes, because it’s that important. Many studies show that sleep deprivation kills your willpower

Nutrition

Exercise:

SET GOALS, AND ACCOMPLISH THEM

if you rely only on willpower to improve, you will fail

Instead, the best approach is to set goals and then build processes into your life that are easy and automatic and that put you on a path to accomplishing those goals. Those processes are called habits

Here are the steps

1. Start with a single goal that is realistic and specific

one of the keystone habits—sleep, nutrition, or exercise. Your assignment is to pick just one of these three for now

2. Make a specific plan of action, with a deadline.

A specific plan is actionable and structured as a habitual, repeatable process that allows you to go on autopilot as you execute

a much better plan would be this: • “Lose five pounds within thirty days by eliminating all processed sugars and refined grains

3. Make your plan into an easy habit, with very few decisions

4. Make yourself accountable to others

5. Have fun, and celebrate wins.

You may be asking, “How do I make habits fun?” Well, besides picking activities you actually like doing, make them easy and simple

The other way to make a habit fun is to celebrate your accomplishments

What celebration treats can you use to reward yourself that are still consistent with your key goals?

6. If you mess up, forgive yourself, readjust, and continue

DISPLAY YOUR WILLPOWER

Health: Your physical health

Grooming

General cleanliness

No addictions

Practice moderating your habits

But if you insist on total abstinence (like AA does with drinking), you’re also signaling weak willpower

Sexual restraint

Takeaways

CHAPTER 9: THE TENDER DEFENDER  (THE AGREEABLENESS AND ASSERTIVENESS TRAITS)

Depending on who raised him and where he learned about dating, he thinks he has to be either a “nice guy” or an “asshole.” The problem with these strategies is that guys tend to do both completely wrong; they do the “nice guy” thing by being a cowardly doormat that no one respects, or they play the “asshole” by being a raging douche that everyone loathes.

You know the saying that guys want “a lady in the streets and a whore in the sheets”? Well, women want something similar from men: a man who is effective and assertive to the world but sweet and kind to her

Ultimately, a woman is most attracted to (and benefits most from) a kind, tender partner who can care for her and who is also a strong protector who can defend her. If she can get both benefits from one man—if he’s a “tender defender”—he becomes the whole package

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT AGREEABLENESS

Like intelligence and mental health, it is not the easiest trait to cultivate, but it is certainly one of the easiest to display

IMPROVE YOUR AGREEABLENESS

Here are some key ways to build empathy and kindness and display them better to women

Learn to take care of animals

Learn to take care of children

Learn to mentor young people

Learn to care for the sick, injured, and old

Learn empathy from your entertainment

DISPLAY YOUR AGREEABLENESS

Short-Term Signals

Project warmth

Show genuine interest in women

Use self-deprecating humor

Show empathic ability and dedication

Be soft when you’re hard

Longer-Term Signals

Volunteer

Be generous

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT ASSERTIVENESS

you also need to know how to be an asshole, but in the best possible sense

Your job is to recognize the line where risk taking leaves the realm of the protective and functional and enters the land of the foolish and immature

part of protectiveness and formidability is a guy’s willingness to punish, ostracize, or stigmatize bad guys

women rate “benevolently sexist” (i.e., protective) men as most attractive, especially in romantic rather than work contexts

What is protective and decisive to one can easily be overbearing and possessive to another.

Yes, this means you have to learn to understand women and think for yourself. And no, there is no precise checklist of behavior that always works all the time

IMPROVE YOUR ASSERTIVENESS

Get your hands dirty

Just like we told you in the willpower chapter—skills matter

Learn self-defense

There are two basic ways to develop effective self-defense skills. Tucker prefers one, Geoff prefers the other

Practical self-defense (Geoff’s pick):

Practical self-defense classes teach doing everything you can to avoid violence, but then escalating to no-holds-barred, very dirty street fighting if necessary

krav maga

You focus on learning a small number of really useful moves, practiced to the point that you can use them automatically under conditions of high stress

Mixed martial arts (MMA, Tucker’s pick):

Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai

DISPLAY YOUR ASSERTIVENESS

Use nonverbal behavior

Project competence, vigilance, assertiveness, and formidability. “Postural openness”

Dance, monkey, dance: Believe it or not, the energy you display while dancing is a window into your formidability. Women rate males as better dancers if they display larger, more variable, and faster arm movements.

Make decisions, and get shit done

Be sexually dominant

Play sports

women prefer athletes who play competitive, aggressive sports

HOW TO COMBINE AND DISPLAY TENDER-DEFENDER TRAITS

TENDER DEFENDER DOS AND DON’TS

Takeaways

STEP THREE  Display Attractive Proofs

CHAPTER 10: SHOW THEM WHAT YOU’RE WORKING WITH  (SIGNALING THEORY) Show, don’t tell.

having attractive traits is not the same as displaying attractive traits

You have to actually show your intelligence and how it’s already made your life better, in specific, concrete ways.

These displays, called “proofs,” are the focus of Step

Yes, what’s on the inside is very important, but we can judge each other’s deepest traits only by what we can observe and verify

The one thing that people never mean by “just be yourself” is “make zero effort to cultivate or display any of the traits that make women feel happy, safe, impressed, and attracted.”

The reality is, you can’t escape signaling; you can only do it badly or do it well

In nature, mating signals are almost exclusively physical traits

But it’s different for humans. For us, in addition to physical signals (which are very important), human signals are behavioral, mental, and even moral traits

Here’s the problem with mating signals though: what keeps animals from lying about how great they are?

evolution also rewards receivers who aren’t easily duped by lies and unreliable signals

So there’s a signaling arms race between signalers (e.g., males) and receivers (e.g., females).

That’s also why the best signals in nature, the most honest ones, tend to be the most expensive (in biological terms).

Many signals, especially the genetic ones, combine a conspicuous waste of material with conspicuous precision of design, and both are hard to fake

So enough of the signaling theory; let’s make this practical

You get a drink and see a pretty woman across the room

Her immediate reaction? To immediately and instinctively assess you, based on these main categories:

Size:

Shape and movement:

Body details (sex, race, age):

Clothing:

Jewelry and ornamentation:

Grooming and smell:

The next four chapters in this section are all about showing. They are about signaling that you have combined those attractive traits from the inside (physical and mental health, intelligence, willpower, tender defender) and applied them effectively to your life on the outside. They are proof that you are fit and effective

CHAPTER 11: THE POWER OF POPULARITY AND PRESTIGE  (SOCIAL PROOF)

Most of the time, individual women judge your fuckability by your social network. So you had better have proof—social proof—that it exists.

popularity

status.

influence

prestige

extroversion

fame

Social proof is not superficial. For hypersocial animals like us, it’s about as deep a signal of personal value as anything gets

Being known in your group (popular), attracting attention by delivering value (high-status), and provoking respect (prestigious) within your social group are the core of social proofs in our species, so that’s what you should focus on

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT SOCIAL PROOF

your social proof is really just the answer to one key question: does this guy add value to people’s lives?

man’s ability to get along with other men was crucial to his success in cooperative hunting of big game

A man’s friendships also testify to his ability to protect himself and his mate from aggressive threats. Male primates form friendships based on who would make a good long-term

  • IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL PROOF*

  • In the Next Few Weeks*

  • Focus on Your Interactions: When you’re around people, put more effort into eye contact, warmth, active listening, conversation, and other basic social skills*

  • Project Confidence:*

  • Have Meals with People:*

  • In the Next Few Months*

Join Groups and Classes That Help You Learn Social Skills

Take Social Jobs

Volunteer

Use Your Friends to Meet Friends

Pick Your Roommates Carefully

Limit Activities That Isolate You

  • DISPLAY YOUR SOCIAL PROOF*

Be Outgoing

Have Friends

Hang Out with Women

Make Your Friends Part of Your Dating Life

Host Parties and Organize Events

Go on Group Dates

Play Team Sports and Join Clubs

Adopt a Pet

Takeaways

CHAPTER 12: HOW RICH DO YOU NEED TO BE?  (MATERIAL PROOF)

women care less about money itself than about what it represents about the guy who made it.

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT MATERIAL PROOF

Money acquired through merit (talent and hard work) doesn’t just amplify the heritability of other traits; it objectively reveals them

IMPROVE YOUR MATERIAL PROOF

  • First, think about money not as an end in itself but as a means for self-improvement and mating success.*

DISPLAY YOUR MATERIAL PROOF

indirect, nonobvious methods of turning your income into concrete traits, proofs, relationships, and experiences that women value

    1. Are you in shape?*
    1. How strong is your tribe?*
    1. Do you live reasonably given your income?*

4. Do you get more from your work than just money?

    1. Do you display your creativity more than your money on dates?*

6. Do you have more possessions or more experiences in your life?

Takeaways

CHAPTER 13: STYLIN’ AND PROFILIN’  (AESTHETIC PROOF)

let’s not talk about the last fifty years of social development; let’s talk about the last fifty thousand generations of sexual selection

Charles Darwin realized that female choice for beauty and style explains why the males of so many species evolved amazing, intricate physical traits.

These conspicuous displays evolved to signal to female eyes and brains that the male who possessed them was so fit, strong, and capable that he could easily afford to spend his energy lugging around all this risky, unnecessary bullshit just to get their attention

they want everything in your life (body, clothes, car, home) to be stylish, beautiful, creative, clean, and well maintained. They want evidence of taste and thoughtfulness

Your creative activities and achievements in the visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, and science even predict your short-term mating success

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT AESTHETIC PROOF

Women interpret aesthetic taste, as they do material proof, as a sign of good underlying traits, like intelligence, openness, worldliness, confidence, and social savvy

IMPROVE YOUR AESTHETIC PROOF

1. Learn to dance

2. Learn to make music

3. Learn to make stuff

4. Learn to draw

5. Learn to be a better storyteller

DISPLAY AESTHETIC PROOF

1. Grooming

2. Clothing

3. Car and Home and Other “Stuff”

CHAPTER 14: SHOW HER HOW YOU FEEL  (ROMANTIC PROOF)

BROADCASTING VS. NARROWCASTING

Broadcasting is anything you do as a guy that raises your attractiveness and apparent mate value to women in general

Narrowcasting is focusing your mating effort and courtship displays on a particular woman

To women, a guy broadcasting his mate value often looks selfish, juvenile, sleazy, and sexually desperate, whereas a narrowcasting guy looks generous, mature, honorable, and sexually patient.

WHY WOMEN CARE ABOUT ROMANTIC PROOF

Romance depends on conscientiousness (willpower) and agreeableness (kindness)

IMPROVE YOUR ROMANTIC PROOF

DISPLAY ROMANTIC PROOF

Make Good Eye Contact

Cultivate Good Conversation

Talk Respectfully about Other Women

Focus on Her Unique Qualities

Tell the Truth about Your Intentions

Socially intelligent honesty about your mating goals also saves your own sexual self-respect and your sense of integrity

Get Good at Foreplay

Embrace Sexual Passion

Cuddling

Check In Regularly

Give Gifts That Require Thought, Research, and Creativity

Show Just Enough Jealousy

Share Interests

Show Deep Engagement Rather Than a Transactional Attitude

Go Public

STEP FOUR  Go Where the Women Are

CHAPTER 15: FIND THE RIGHT MATING MARKETS

CHAPTER 16: BEGGARS MUST BE CHOOSERS  (MATE PREFERENCES)

Takeaways

CHAPTER 17: MEETING THE WOMEN YOU WANT

BARS AND CLUBS SUCK

MEET WOMEN THROUGH YOUR SOCIAL LIFE


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