Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Man or Hapless Beta?

Last week I went to Worlds of Fun (Kansas City's major amusement park, similar to a Six Flags but a bit smaller) with seven people aged 17-19 (I am 26). All four of the girls (including the one) have interest in me to varying extents, and in three of four cases, it's returned. The point is not to boast pseudonymously online, but to show that the stakes are high enough to think seriously about the perception I am creating in their eyes.

The titular question refers to my spontaneous offer and then insistence at the gate of paying everyone's way. The guys didn't protest at all, the one I'm really close to thanking me briefly and the other two just pumped about their good fortune ("Sick dude!"). Hmm, not sure that's what I wanted. I like all of the guys and feel a protective, big-brotherly relationship with them, but there is no denying that they are competition, too. Though my conscious motivation was a consequence of genuine enjoyment (once you've hit the mid-twenties, being the center of attention in a group of attractive, well-adjusted teenagers is invigorating and immensely enjoyable) and being cognizant of the fact that getting in was a substantive expense for them but not for me, an immediate desire for deference and humility went unfulfilled--shouldn't they feel small about not being able to drop bills like that? I might have been quite the chump (and for leveraging my financial security against incoming college freshmen, I probably deserve as much).

But the female reaction matters more. Three of the girls did resist and then tried to give me money--forcefully after I put my hands up in non-compliance--to which I reacted with my best male dancer impression (unlike Agnostic, I have zero dancing experience). Cute, right? Again, probably not what I wanted. A swooned girl doesn't try and stop dreamboy from providing for her--she simply rewards him warmly for doing so. Plus, my girl would be thrilled if I provided only for her (which I obviously had planned on doing) in the presence of other interested females, rather than feeling like just another part of the harem. Worse, the harem reference might not be right at all--perhaps I momentarily became the cool uncle (and thus the conspcicuous grown up).

Sound like a misfire? Or is there enough redemptive value in being a solid material provider to justify it (in addition to acting on genuine altruistic urges)?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude not to make you feel bad since I used to pull the exact same thing but that was a real beta move (as I sadly found it)...Don't do that ever again...

Anonymous said...

See, this is what happens when you overthink everything by applying evolutionary psychology to everyday actions.

Now, maybe you were subconsciously trying to corral those guys and at the same time make off with a harem of nubile females. But then again, you could simply be feeling fortunate about your financial status and felt like sharing.

After retiring a few years ago, my wife and I spent a good deal of time with an artist community in the Southwest, which consisted mostly of young artists. Every time we got together at a restaurant, I would automatically pick up the tab. It wasn't because I wanted recognition or wanted to establish myself as an alpha male (I'm too old for that), but rather to share my good fortune with others.

AE, because you are fairly close in age to the others, perhaps that complicates the issues. But don't worry about, life is too short to sweat the small things. Good luck!

Chuck said...

AE:

i'm in a similar situation here, uncannily so actually.

also, i live in wichita and am 28...not to get sidetracked, but are you living in the KC area?

anyway, early last year i started running around with a group of girls i work with. most were sorority girls, and they ranged in age from 19-23. i was excited by the thrill of hanging out with young girls with energy, that liked to party etc after coming out of a 5 year relationship.

i was initially confronted with the dilemma of paying for drinks, food, and some of a given night's festivities. i also threw some house parties and supplied jello shots and bought some kegs, all to draw people in. the company was nice and everything, but those material purchases have no lasting effect on the girls' minds. now, it doesn't make them immoral, they're just responding to their incentives, but it goes without saying that girls, especially that age, will use you if they can. they're likely still dependent on parents to a degree and haven't been fully cut lose from being provided for.

i think it's your duty to wise them up to the ways of the world. after a couple of months of providing too much for my female friends (i am dating one of them now; she was the one who most adamantly refused favors or material goods from me btw) i stopped. one would ask me to buy her a beer, i told her to get one herself, in a nice way.

anyway, it sounds like competition among the girls is enough for you to bag one of them or maintain concurrent relations if you play your cards right and are into that kind of thing (which is also very similar to my situation last year).

either way, anonymous is right. you can't do that again.

Devon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
agnostic said...

The Big Man thing is harder to pull off in a modern cash economy. In tribal societies, Big Man sharing means providing a huge meat carcass that only you are skilled enough to bring down, or moving people up socially through your connections, like a godfather type.

But we don't have the same reaction to money. Yeah, you may have had to work hard for it, but it doesn't show that you have a unique, enviable position of power or skill, like running networks or hunting big dangerous animals.

Diverting resources to others is OK, but try to do it in a way that showcases how dependent on you they are. Anyone with a job can give them cash or buy them things, so that's out.

But if you can cook, or excel at some skill-based hobby that requires expensive equipment (and isn't nerdy), go for that.

Food is an especially easy way. The "skill" could be nothing more than knowledge -- what different kinds of cheeses are, where they're from, having an exciting story about how you traveled there and got hooked on it, etc.

They won't care too much about your culinary dexterity, as long as it's palatable (and good food always is). Rather, they'll see you as a guide or expert who they rely on and defer to.

Plus it'll highlight how unsophisticated they, the youngsters, are compared to the cool older person, you. Anything that makes them feel a bit insecure is good.

Anyway, they'll get a big kick out of it. When I cooked for two of my undergrad chick friends, they were pretty excited, asking what region they should pretend they're dining in, etc. It was cute.

And get them to pay for some stuff -- go to the supermarket (or wherever) with them, and get them to buy some of the littler things, so that you don't risk appearing like a doormat.

I got one of them to buy a package of salami when I was buying what I needed, and I had the other one take me out to Wendy's for a frostie later on. I mean, $5 is a lot for college freshmen.

If you're hanging out with young people, that's always a good line to fall back on when they ask for something? If it's ridiculous, just deny them completely. If it's reasonable, fake that you're not convinced at first, and then say grudgingly that you'll do it, "but you're paying for my espresso / drink when we go to Starbucks / Jamba Juice afterward."

ironrailsironweights said...

I'd have to agree that it's largely a Beta move. There might be an exception, however, if your financial position is much better than that of any of the others. In that case it might be seen as spreading one's riches and wouldn't have such strong Beta connotations.

Peter

Jokah Macpherson said...

Unless they're dirt poor I'm guessing all of these teenagers are provided for to a reasonable extent by their parents, and this includes entertainment expense. Therefore, you're not doing much by paying for them except transferring the target of the guilt of dependence onto yourself. Whether they take the parental line of credit for granted is largely irrelevant.

On the other hand, it was a thoughtful gesture, and as Roissy points out today, the margin for error increases the longer you know a person. I mean, you're spending a day with four freshman coeds; just keep doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

But if you can cook, or excel at some skill-based hobby that requires expensive equipment (and isn't nerdy), go for that...."

Yea, verily. Being a cook is one of the best things you can do that babes dig. It isn't rocket science either and not hard to be skilled at. It has been invaluable for me. One thing to do is to learn how to pick meats/veggies/cheeses/etc... and bring her along. You look sophisticated and discerning
Got space for a garden? Bonus points! Hunt? Extra bonus points. Work with me here... Seriously, if you hunt get a little spiritual about it. Not necessarily getting all Dances With Wolves type stuff (the Native American thing has been beaten to death), but a little bit of traditional Celtic/Italic stuff works. Nice babe I've been seeing was kind of miffed I hunted, but when I explained how that fits into my respect for animals, I was gold.
And brew beer.
Another added bonus is that cooking saves you big $ over takeout.
Drunken rant over.

Ferdinand Bardamu said...

Like everyone else said, paying for a woman who hasn't reciprocated is a big beta move. Don't ever do it if you want them to stay interested. Should you actually get into a relationship, though, providing is more acceptable (though I would still advise against it until you've been together for a certain period of time).

OneSTDV said...

You're only 26?

For some reason, I imagined you were much older.

Is this common? DO most people think you're in your mid twenties?

Anonymous said...

Another direction here. Those boys are not competition for you. If they were your age, they would be. Sure women have been indoctrinated by feminist BS, but natural instincts are stronger. Women's reactions to stuff like paying for is largely fake and inline with social expectations. Girls want men, not boys. They date boys because those are the only ones available. Every one of those girls knows that. Smart girls like smart guys and there are only so many of those. Each day they get rarer.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon2,

Yes, I felt fortunate and generally happy, and spontaneously made the offer, just as was apparently the case in your situation. It was only afterwards that I started weighing whether or not it was a good mood. But you're right about not getting worked up about it, and believe me, I'm not at all.

Chuck,

Yes, I live in the KC metro area. I am in Wichita from time to time--I'll have to hit you up next time I'm down there.

Nice work turning a girl 5-9 years your junior into a relationship partner.

The assessment makes sense. It's compounded by the fact that all of these girls are aware that I have money, but at the same time the action is not a defining action, because I've known all of them for more than a year.

Devon,

Thanks, much appreciated.

Fortunately these girls are from an affluent, conservative area and none are shrill feminists to any extent. Also, with my age, personality, and lifestyle, I run the risk of being too dominating. Seventeen and 18 yo girls are still pretty insecure and too much can scare them away.

As for the one, it's gotten serious over the last month. Before then, when we hung out, we went dutch. I'm going to pay for my girl when I take her out. My warrior ethos mandates that level of chivalry.

In your case, are you interested in creating a long-term relationship? I'm thinking about procreation, not just sexual gratification.

Agnostic,

Yes, that's solid advice. My athleticism is a huge plus, my career is fairly masculine (basically a mix of accounting and finance), and my assertiveness is good, but I'm mechanically declined. I'll do little things to obscure the fact--like last night, my girl was over and we watched a movie downstairs, which is my roommate's domain. I pretended like I'd never messed with his entertainment system, which has four controllers for four different pieces. I asked her to put the movie in and get the sound and stuff ready to go while I went to grab something to drink. When I came back, of course she hadn't figured it out yet, so I performed a little understated historionics and 'figured it all out' in about a minute.

It's tough to have a big void there forever, though, so I'll probably need to acquire something. Food is an obvious place to start.

Peter,

There is a big gap, because they either don't work or have part-time minimum wage type jobs, but they're probably 4 years or so away from being able to really appreciate that, since their parents currently cover all but the most discretionary of spending for them.

Jokah,

Haha, fair enough.

Anon,

Sports is ritualized warfare, right? That's at least on par with hunting, isn't it?

OneSTDV,

If I talk to someone on the phone before meeting them, I often get a "wow, you're a lot younger than I thought" implicit reaction when we meet in person, for better or worse.

As far as physical appearance goes, I'll usually get in the 21-26 yo range. Dress makes a difference, too--if I'm in basketball shorts and a tight t-shirt, it sheds a few years. Also, the younger the estimator, the older they tend to peg me. Women in their thirties are much worse at gauging the subtle differences that arise throughout the late teens and early 20s, but teenage girls who are surrounded by boys their own age all the time know I'm at least four years older than they are.

Anon,

Right, it's pretty much mine to lose. I sympathize with the guys a little ('beta', I know) because the handicap puts them all at a steep disadvantage from the get-go.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about the non-mechanically inclined thing. My spouse can't fix anything. I have more spatial ability. He plays the piano beautifully, which really impresses me. Obviously you have plenty of talent. Just put it on display. Nothing fake is as good as your real talents. It also feels better to be complimented and appreciated for your real strengths.

FeministX said...

Hanging out with 4 teenage girls is not beta.

Yes, you should pay for things when the girls you are with are basically children. Fuckable children, that is.

FeministX said...

FYI,

paying for them all or not paying is not an alpha/beta issue. The alpha/beta issue is not wanting to bone all of them or all of the hot ones and instead being focused on 1. In fact, you are so focused on this one that you worry about making her feel like part of a harem. Don't feel guilty about making a girl jealous. That is the small change of attitude that will take you from beta to big man.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

That's reassuring to hear. Still, if I have to call my dad or a friend over every time something needs fixing... oh well, that's why you win them over long before they see you tooling around with stuff at the house :)

FemiX,

Are you saying as much because you'd like to be paid for, or because you feel more drawn to someone who is willing to pay for you?

Re: boning each of them, I was all over that pre-relationship, but not now. To the extent that cheating is alpha, I won't have any part of it. I have no qualms about indirectly making her aware that the option is available, but I'd never try and take advantage of it.

Anonymous said...

What's really beta is worrying about all this stupid stuff. Who cares what teenagers think?

Anonymous said...

"What's really beta is worrying about all this stupid stuff. Who cares what teenagers think?"

Yeah, really! Who would want a lovely sweet 17-19 year old when you can have a well used 25-30 year old?

Anonymous said...

The point is that if you want to bang hot 17-19 year olds, you have to stop caring what they think. Fear is the mind-killer.

Fugu said...

I would never intentionally seek out a girl that would be that easily wooed by my financial status. That might be a good tactic to pick up some women, but not all of them. Of course, the foundations for my ideal mate are likely varied from yours. I could have never dooped my current girlfriend by throwing money around emphatically.

Paying for kids that are financially reliant on their well off parents, will not impress them in the least bit. Like you already said, they have about 4-6 years of growing up to do before they could appreciate that. You probably looked more like a rich uncle "sugar daddy."

My best advice would be to make sure you gain acceptance of her friends. Friends have an incredible influence on a persons decision making. I would be careful not to marginalize yourself from them. You are walking a very thin line. Girls that age will act very sensitive about dating a person your age.

FeministX said...

"Are you saying as much because you'd like to be paid for, or because you feel more drawn to someone who is willing to pay for you?
"

This isn't about me. I'm pretty sure Hef pays for all his dates all the time, so paying for a group of teenage girls can't be inherently beta.

"To the extent that cheating is alpha, I won't have any part of it. I have no qualms about indirectly making her aware that the option is available, but I'd never try and take advantage of it."

K then. Don't worry about any of the stuff in your post. Just nail your 18 yr old and use your mental energy to analyze more data and stuff.

Anonymous said...

Sports is ritualized warfare, right? That's at least on par with hunting, isn't it?


Yes, sports is ritualized warfare. But it is not on par with hunting. There needs to be blood.

Audacious Epigone said...

Who cares what teenagers think?
Have you spent a lot of time around girls in their late teens since you hit your twenties? If a 28 yo guy tries to be the BA alpha, an 18 yo girl and her friends will identify him as a pervert and shower him with ridicule. Insecurity, which steadily (and too quickly!) morphs into either inflated self worth (if she's hot) or bitterness (if she's not), is the major point of difference between an 18 yo and 23 yo. The young ones are skiddish and take time. It's not realistic to assume you can swoon them in a couple of hours. They'll flirt, but try nailing down a more private time to get together down the road, let alone get serious action--it's much more difficult than it will be when she's 5 years older.

Fugu,

She's not a gold digger. I knew her for almost a year before she had any idea what my financial situation was.

Yes, that is a great point re: her friends. Their opinions are monumental for the next few years, and given their insecurities, anything that puts them at odds with me will be fed to my girl continuously. Now is a critical time for me, as she's moving into her dorm this weekend. She's going to a private university, not a state school, along with only one other person from her high school. So the peer circle is going to change drastically. It'll make things a lot easier if I get in good with them early.

FemiX,

Don't worry, I'm a step ahead of you.

Anon,

There is that, but not the primal admiration of a bunch of your fellow warriors--which must be perceived as inherently 'alpha'--when you lead a successful charge. Isn't hunting perceived as a bit of a loner (or gaggle of loners) activity?

Georgi said...

Oh boy, it is somewhat sad that someone as intelligent as you obviously are is so hopelessly confused when it comes to dealing with another sex.

Don't so over-analyze things! Look, if you want to sleep with as many girls as you can - by all means, simply do what it it takes.

If, OTOH, you want a girl you can feel comfortable living with for a long time ("wife"), you ought to find a balance between being universally likable and being yourself. To put it plainly, the last thing you want to do is to marry on false premises. Don't lie to your girl and don't lie to yourself. If you can't be what she wants, chances are she will be disappointed once you marry. If so, you, her and your child(ren) will pay the price. Usually, the price is too much. Be honest - as stale as it may sound, it's the best advice.
--
P.S. Married at 25 while in grad school, marriage is 24 years old, two kids.

Anonymous said...

How would you rate yourself in attractiveness from 1-10? What about your social skills? Your hobbies and interests seem to be that of an unattractive misfit, but you appear to have a successful social life.

Audacious Epigone said...

Georgi,

I'm not inexperienced with women. What is relatively new though is pursuing women nearly a decade younger than myself. It's not the same game. But I'm not overanalyzing this--I gave it about 30 seconds of thought after it happened, and made a mental note to toy around with it and solicit comments here when I got a chance. I've known all of these girls for well over a year. I am not putting on a show when I'm around them.

I do appreciate and register the advice, though.

Anon,

Probably a 7. 6'1, 190, defined upper body, fit, etc. Everything's symmetrical. Above the shoulders is where I come up short (and for men, that's the area that is weighted most heavily). A little too baby- and broad-faced, m-fing widow's peak developing out of the blue about a year ago (I've let my hair grow out to over two inches for the first time since elementary school in response!), small puff deposits under the eyes, head's rounder than optimal (shield-shaped is better). Always told I have lips to die for, though, so it's not all bad.

Since intelligence and physical attractiveness correlate positively, that puts me in a pretty middling position among most of my social circle (and the people reading this). My girl is a 9 at least, and she's 18--I've shown a picture of her to Randall Parker, and he (rightly) asserts that she is hotter than Agnostic's fetish girl (to be fair, they're close and aesthetics probably play some role in biasing myself and RP in my favor--my girl has blond hair, blue eyes, lightly golden skin). So I know there are always going to be crocs waiting for her to drop. But I'm very socially comfortable and don't let on about my interests until several hours of intimate face time (and usually not until literally months after I first meet someone, so it's not really a detriment).

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Dude, you're a sick misogynist fuck. You need to get yourself some help, before you turn into another health-club woman-killer.

Anonymous said...

Quick visit via Vox Day's site. Umm I feel sad. First I recognise that it represents a kind of humility to bother understanding psychological patterns; to seek out the great good of our wonderful females and raise a family - greatly in a man's interest. But IMO a bit of redirection is needed.

We have enough generations of human experience to save us some thought on how to live. You're clearly not Christian so perhaps Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" is universal enough for your taste. It is "seek ye first the Kingdom of God, then everything else will be GIVEN to you" as a moving picture. ["Your Father in Heaven knows you need these things, why worry about what those without faith worry about, put first things first" i.e the true and the good.]

By becoming lovable you will attract it. By being unselfconscious and guided by love of neighbor virtue will flow naturally from you and virtue is the ultimate evolutionary advantage.

Think of what is really in another's best interest (the definition of love)anxiety disappears and social ease results.

This is the road less traveled to be sure but following the path of technique is a dead end. A life dedicated to love will put you in 'flow' and everything else will take care of itself.

Coming after as we do it is just good sense to follow Jesus the highest example of love we have. And I'm betting my life on Him being exactly who he said he is. A rational faith.

Take it or leave it.

Best wishes.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

I appreciate the thoughtfulness.

I was raised and continue to consider myself a Lutheran, albeit an agnostic one. I do not have hostility for Christianity, save the tendency to trump Caeser's law by encouraging a world without national borders and, by extension, a world without national sovereignties.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

I appreciate the thoughtfulness.

I was raised and continue to consider myself a Lutheran, albeit an agnostic one. I do not have hostility for Christianity, save the tendency to trump Caeser's law by encouraging a world without national borders and, by extension, a world without national sovereignty.