A week or so ago I listened to the Sex Cells podcast titled “Educated Women + Political Preferences.” This was – at least in my view – a much more honest take on the hypergamy dilemma that many in the manosphere who tend to have a lot of scorn over women for this evolutionary import. I think the presumption that women are all gold diggers tends to be a self-fulfilling one. After all, if you try to attract women by flashing your wallet – the women after money are inevitably be the kinds who you will attract.
But the manosphere is on to something often discussed in less sneering tones by the likes or Jordan Peterson and Geoffrey Miller: that women tend to date up and across hierarchies. This is not just a case of a hierarchy of money. For instance women that value education will want to date someone with a similar or greater level of education level to them.
A housemate from London told me the story of how much she judged her friend as “materialistic” that was almost instantly attracted to men once she learned what kind of car they drove. Until my housemate realised that all a man had to do was to say he went to Oxford and the same would happen to her. In that moment she realised that a degree from Oxford was her Lamborghini. A proxy or heuristic for where a man sits in the hierarchy - that her values dictate - she should be pursuing.
This tendency to ‘date up’ is a problem when women are increasingly out graduating and out earning men. But it is only a problem so long as women don’t realise that the material ‘proxies’ for the values system are not the goal itself but just that – proxies.
In the podcast Eliza tells a story about her attraction to someone deflating when he told her he worked at Woolworths. If a sports car is a magnet, stacking shelves at Woolworths is a repellant. I have to say, this resonated with me, particularly her thought process afterwards where she reasoned that the life stage he was in was not conducive to her desire to settle down and have kids.
I am a lawyer, and probably have out earned most men I have dated. This is not necessarily a problem in the short term, but have to admit that the thought of “this means I always have to be the breadwinner” which for some reason is synonymous to “this means I can never have children with this man” popped into my head. I only recently realised that this is a false equivalence. Instead I should be asking men I date if they are ok with being the breadwinner despite me earning more. There is no reason why we must take the economically rational decision at the family level and live off the greater income. I am no princess and am more than used to roughing it or living cheaply when I need. There is no reason why the higher earner needs to be the breadwinner. Particularly if non-economic factors, like allowing the mother to be with the child for the early years (or at least the first year) can be weighed up against the economics of this decision.
By uncoupling presumptions like this, women can override the instinct to be hypergamous in part. When it is possible to live off a salary that is half yours – why would you insist on a man earning the same or more? If the universities are churning out people without necessarily giving them a quality education – why would you prize a degree from such an institution over someone who is self-taught? In other words, whatever proxy that women are pursuing as a marker of the type of man they wish to date – make sure we are not confusing the territory with the map. If you want a man to support you while you take time out with your children, ask if he would do this regardless of what his pay is in relation to yours? If you are after an educated man, talk to him about the type of things which would indicate that he is educated in the way you would like him to be.
In another podcast, Modern Wisdom with Geoffrey Miller. He talks about how couples in which the women out earn the man can game hypergamy - such as by switching roles in the bedroom. By creating the circumstances that allow a man to show his women that he is ‘the man’ - regardless of circumstances external to the relationship – and crucially women need the awareness to know how they want the man to be ‘dominant’ or ‘to lead’ and men need to be able to articulate what makes them feel like the man of the house.
The fluidness of the gender roles today is much lamented, but may be the thing that actually means a lot of the problems that exist between the sexes can be reversed engineered by working out what the thing each actually needs rather than merely the proxy or signal for that thing.