I was talking to my cousins in China about life in America.
Do you have a girlfriend? Some of them often ask. No I don’t. Dating in America is complicated. One, as a minority, my look doesn’t come to mind immediately when a lady thinks of “sexy man,” so I always have to work a little harder. However, that’s really child’s play compared to the biggest challenge for most men in the West. The most important difference between the West and “the rest” is that Western society has more sexual liberation, but women strive for an ideal that often bypasses their biological dispositions. My feelings on this subject do not influence this model, but I only mention it because this assumption serves as an axiom for this model to build on (like any model that tries to reduce complexity into its essential parts).
When sexual intercourse gets introduced into the equation in the dating process, it throws many heads into deep water, especially when there’s opposing forces and teachings in society that tell women and men mixed, and often contradictory, lessons about courtship. All my cousins in China had sex after marriage. Many don't make any sounds in the bedroom. Many don’t even kiss their spouses in public and laugh nervously if you ask them if they've ever kissed. To explain Western (non fundamentalist Christian) culture to my cousins takes a leap of faith, especially regarding the sex-for-enjoyment sake part of Western society.
And as I tried to explain the differences between dating in Chinese and American culture, it occurred to me that this would make an amazing blog. I’ve always been the guy who makes odd analogies, and as I thought about this blog more, it dawned on me that the “seduction” process in the US culture could be graphically represented. There’s three universal languages of the human mind that I can think of: movement, math and music. With horrible dance skills and no song-writing abilities, I will have to go with using math to help cultural understanding. For anyone wanting to understand dating or the human mind more, you’ll have fun with this mathematical model and hopefully find it informative. I’m a guy, so naturally I aim this model at a male audience, but females wanting to understand a Western guy’s rational mind might want to read this too. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I promise that I do have a few insights that you could expand on in your own journey through life.
So let’s introduce two axes for our graph.
The independent variable is time. Until we discover a way to time travel, time always goes one way— forwards (so in our model, from left to right). The dependent variable is effort. How much effort do you put into the courtship? You as a person control can control this. This will be measured on the y-axis. The higher up you are on the axis, the more sexual you are with your approach.
Now with the two axes labeled, I will present an ideal situation.
In more snobby terms, it’s called a normative model. We can call the green line the 45 degree line because as the time progresses, you steadily increase your effort at a constant rate of one until you get to the end of the graph aka “there” aka a lover or a wife (depending on what you want). As long as you stick to the line, you’re going the correct way. I will colloquially call the green line the boyfriend line. If you follow it, then you’ll get to become her boyfriend. If you veer from it. That’s where the trouble starts. So here we present two other potential outcomes in addition to boyfriend:
In any future graph that I present, anything above or below the boyfriend line represents unwanted scenarios. If you put in too much effort before she’s ready, you end up somewhere above the green (boyfriend) line, and she will get weirded out. If you choke and don’t put in enough effort when needed, you end up below the green (boyfriend) line and get “friend zoned” or treated like her best friend without any benefits. In the ideal normative situation from above, you just stick to a little bit more effort every time, and you end up with what you want.
But life’s complicated. Depending on the situation, depending on the person and depending on the upbringing, the specific path (or graphical progression) to a woman’s heart will veer from the normative model.
I’ll present to you two very common scenarios. In all these scenarios, I have the normative graph drawn (green line) for reference sake. Always use the new line in question (the line of a different color) to determine the boundaries of where the two unwanted outcomes (friend zone and creeper) lie.
In the first example, you have to go in really, really bold and strong, maybe even sleep with her at the end of the first date, then you dial it back a little and let it go the rest of the way without as much increase in effort/escalation. This is especially hard for shy guys or guys who aren’t used to thinking with their penis because this approach requires a lot of boldness and turning off the rational brain. Many women in Western society respond to this approach. I’ve messed it up so many times with women in this category because I didn’t have the initial push despite her trying to get me in bed that night. I end up below the line in the “friend zone” category (or more like, ignore this wuss). Men who are very good at getting this type of girl either get this way through lots of near-sociopathic practice every day, or they had some kind of gift given in their early teens (like losing their virginities naturally very early or going to a whorehouse very early).
The second example is the polar opposite. There are certain women who are totally your match, but it takes her very, very long to realize it. So you have to play it extra cool, and escalate it extra slow. However, as time progresses enough and she realizes you’re the one, you have to suddenly go all in and shoot her heart with your cupid’s arrow. When courting this type of woman, a guy who’s horny or a guy who just “crushes” on her too much will creep her out. The guy who’s very patient but gives up early will miss the window because he’s moved on, and she will be devastated and sad for months after she realizes her loss. In this situation, focus on other things that also matter in your life (like your career, you family, your hobbies, your social circle etc), but when you get that text from her, run the f*ck over to her place and give it to her. The majority of the women I have messed up with end up in this category.
60% of romantic scenarios fall into these two descriptive categories. Think about your past life-experiences with romance, you could probably place a lot of the courtship process with the women into one of the two graphical representations presented above.
However, there are many more types of scenarios that make life interesting. Let’s look at a few of the extremely interesting ones.
In this situation, you have to go in strong initially, then cool it off, giving her time to chase you and miss you, then you go in strong again and finish the deal. These women are the most fun to deal with if you like “games” or like playing the field during the lull, but if you’re a blunt person without much subtlety, like me, these women are absolute annoying characters and should be avoided.
This graph above is an extreme example of someone who needs to be reminded over and over again that you’re the prize. A guy following this trajectory has to constantly dial back the effort and then escalate again.
This above example is another one that’s common. The maximal effort happens a while before it becomes “official.” By the time you start calling each other funny names, you’re not even devoting that much effort, and it seemed like it was going to be an inevitability a while ago.
I call this one the Korean Drama graph. One situation that this graphical model could represent: something would have happened very quickly, but some kind of hiccup happened, causing a rapid loss of effort (maybe you guys parted ways). Then, a chance encounter later on in time leads to rediscovery of mutual attraction. At this point, you have to go all out and get sexual real quick.
One fundamental assumption that I have to point out here is that these graphical situations model cases where mutual attraction is a possibility. Some guys and girls will never be attracted to each other. I don’t know what percentage, but I believe it’s quite rare; however, situations like the aforementioned do exist. When those unlucky situations happen, the guy will never get anywhere with the girl because she might not like him for various reasons. Maybe she’s only into girls, or maybe she’s so racist she can’t date someone who doesn’t look like her cousin. However, excluding those situations, you can use these graphs to represent the thousands of romantic progressions in life. I could go for hours about different seduction scenarios that men could encounter; however, what I’ll explain in the next blog is that a woman is not one dimensional. Depending on the cognitive frame evoked whether through culture, language, social influence, emotions, or biological triggers, a man could be in a different fleeting graphical situation. In fact, people who seem to be good at seduction are just people who are able to recognize the situation and use the power of influence to change the graphical path that he needs to venture with the woman at hand, and even they don’t always have success because human behavior is so complicated, and all models are inherent simplifications.
So next time, we’re going to expand this model into three dimensions, adding a z-axis to the mix. See you next time! Leave your comments below!