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October 23, 2004

What the ladies like....

The post on Turkey & religiosity meandered off into a strange direction: about how much the ladies like guys that treat them like crap. A few years ago I was a total jackass to this girl who I was kind of seeing in Portland. I didn't call her back, I cancelled dates 5 minutes ahead of time (and she would later see me hanging out with friends when I had given her a lame excuse). But she kept coming back over and over and over....

Anyway, women in moments of bitterness can understand the "all men are pigs" assertion, but many men can also relate to "all women love pigs." These generalizations are only means or modes at best, there is obviously a lot of variation. Nevertheless, something Kurt said about how East Asian women not having the same attraction to the brusque jerk as other groups made me wonder, is this true? It is a truism....

Months back a friend emailed me the following:


2 dorky, class-A silicon valley geeks talking to each other in our breakroom

"at the end of the day, if you're a hardcore geek, the only way you can land a chick with a nice bod is if you go Asian"

OK, this is all stereotype, and I have had several close female friends of Asian extraction who have dated big macho assholes. But I already offered the caveat about the reality of human variation. I do recall reading years ago that while in the West the "tall dark and handsome" male has often been lionized (think sun-blackened Herakles) in China the fair-skinned scholar has been the ideal. Obviously cultural traditions about the ideal mate might vary. Constant cultural biases can exert a selective pressure that might shift the modal phenotype, or the ESS ("cads" vs. "dads"). I am skeptical about the constant cultural bias part, as I suspect environmental shifts over the generations in any given region would nullify possible population differences (though I would assert that the culture of China has been more consistent in its general character over the past 2,000 years than most other regions). Now, let's move beyond anecdote, anyone have any studies or research that might be able to tease out the confounding facotrs? Jason has blogged about the possible innate relative shyness of Asian children, and I have pointed out that there is some evidence that Northern Europeans also tend to have introverted personalities because of genetic/biochemical factors. That by itself would lend support to a thesis that these are not going to be "cad" cultures (or, the cads have for some reason not been able to spread either or both their values and genetic propensities).

Addendum: Traditionally Southern Europeans are characterized as having more outgoing personalities than Northern Europeans. Could this be evidence of a cads vs. dads strategy where the southerners are cads and northerners dads? I am skeptical of this as the ultimate reason for the proximate difference. According to M.G. Bulger in The biology of twinning in man (1970) Northern Europeans have higher dizygotic twinning rates than Southern Europeans, as I assume that dads tend to want to practice a K strategy (few offspring, high investment).

Related: "Myth," "fact," and other such things.....

Posted by razib at 08:54 PM