Sunday, February 17, 2008

Arms races and interracial encounters   posted by agnostic @ 2/17/2008 08:19:00 PM

After YouTubing VH1's The Pickup Artist (a contest reality show where guys learn how to pick up girls), something struck me about how the bar and nightclub scene so thoroughly devastated the East Asian contestant. Sure, every guy gets rejection anxiety and experiences rejection, including the occasional antarctic stare and turn-away response that the Asian guy received. But he looked like he was about to commit suicide, which he ended up doing symbolically by electing himself to be kicked off the show. You see the same stewing-in-rage pattern among Angry Asian Male websites, where they barely contain their bitterness about how White females show no interest in them. * Why is it that Asian guys seem to experience shell-shock in the bar and nightclub scene?

The answer may lie in the arms race between the sexes, whereby males become better and better at showing off or charming and seducing females, which makes females evolve higher standards for the showing-off trait or greater skepticism and iciness when they sense they're being hit on. It's clear that this arms race has escalated much farther in sub-Saharan Africa and other places of similar latitude, compared to more extreme latitudes (although latitude is not the primary cause -- probably pathogen load, ease of female farming, and so on, that correlate with it). So, when an Asian male is dropped into the lion's den of the Western bar and nightclub scene, he is not dealing with a merely unfamiliar group of females -- a large proportion of Europeans and Latin Americans -- but one that has evolved to defeat a far tougher opponent than he.

If European, Latin American, and African females have evolved levels of skepticism and strategies for rejecting an unwelcome suitor that reflect the levels of male seduction skill in their own populations, then when they use these against the far less threatening Asian male, he will perceive it not as a woman's natural self-defense, but as malicious overkill, as though a first-world superpower dropped bombs on a hunter-gatherer tribe that had picked off some of its members with crude arrows. **

Because there has been very little contact -- cultural or genetic -- between Europe, East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Americas for most of the time after these groups went their own way, it is not surprising that this pattern is pervasive when they meet for the first time. A well known example is the devastation of American groups when European colonists introduced pathogens that were not just unfamiliar but the outcome of thousands of years of arms-race evolution against the human immune system. Similarly, Europeans never managed to colonize sub-Saharan Africa: they dropped like flies in the even harsher pathogen-load areas there. There is no reason to expect the pattern would not show up in social arms races.

Steve Sailer has collected data on who marries who interracially: African male with White female is far more common than White male with African female. While plenty of causes have been given -- for example, dark skin is more attractive on males than on females -- I don't know of anyone mentioning the seduction arms race. African males would have an easier time charming over White females than African females, other things equal, since Whites are more naive to high-level seduction skills. *** Conversely, White males are underprepared in the charm department to evade the African female's more sensitive bullshit-detector, and their show-off skills are unlikely to meet her higher standards (in dancing ability, for example).

In general, it appears that females will date males of other groups if the latter are higher in seduction skills, and so males will date females of other groups if the latter are more naive to seduction than same-group females. I don't claim this accounts for all of the variation, since it would suggest East Asian female with African male would be the most common pattern -- but this datum is a thorn in the side of all other explanations too, such as differing levels of masculinity and femininity between groups.

* The rant linked to contains the following:

"I'd be willing to bet that you could scan entire racks of trashy romances at your local supermarket and not find a single one that depicts an Asian man seducing and romancing a white woman."

Well, the novelists have to keep the plot somewhat believable, and they have to supply a real rather than non-existent demand. The stereotype, probably true, is that East Asians are more pragmatic, tough-minded, and call-it-like-it-is compared to the more idealistic Europeans. But this example shows that the male contest for mates can fog up anyone's clear mind.

** Finnish males may also count here as honorary East Asians.

*** Maybe not so true for Italian females -- any female who's been to Rome or Staten Island knows how relentless Italian males are.

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