Danny: Does he make you laugh?
Tess: He doesn’t make me cry, Danny.
Oh, this is just pure pussy bait! (*) When they were together, he made her laugh and he made her cry. So two items here: One is, emotional roller coaster. Chick crack. The other is that he’s an asshole. We don’t know why he made her cry— I’m guessing by cheating on her— but it’s enough that he did. He’s no good! He doesn’t care for her! Her treats her badly! You can just see that one line setting off the Bad Boy Alert for the women in the audience, and having them leaving wet spots on their seats. Very deftly done: Two terse lines of dialogue. That’s all that the chicks in the audience need to get that there’s some sort of soap-opera-y relationship backstory.
* I was going to write “pussy crack,” but that would’ve pulled up the wrong mental image.
(2) Random red pill item: Actor Larry Hagman said he rarely got any female fan mail when he played a nice guy on I Dream of Genie, but got tons when he played the total bastard J.R. on Dallas.
(Those two characters were so different that I never even realized they were the same actor until I read that quote.)
(3) Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver, a trilogy I strongly recommend if you like Stephenson. It’s the most “Neal Stephenson” of his works that I’ve read, i.e. stylistically dense but always intelligent and funny.
Page 374 et seq.: In 1683 a “vagabond”— that is, a roaming criminal adventurer— named Jack is wandering around in the chaos of the siege of Vienna. In a Turkish officer’s tent he happens upon a young English woman, Eliza; she’d been captured at sea as a child. After some back and forth:
“You talk like a girl who is in need of a spanking.”
“Books of India,” she said coolly, “have entire chapters about that.”
Jack prefers not to get bogged down with companions unless they can help out in a fight, but eventually agrees to let her travel with him. But he warns her:
“If we make it as far as Paris… and if you’ve given me so much as a blink of trouble—one cross look, one wifely crossing of the arms—cutting thespian-like asides, delivered to an imaginary audience—”
“Have you had many women, Jack?”
“—pretending to be shocked by what’s perfectly normal—calculated moods—slowness to get underway—murky complaints about female trouble—”
“Now that you mention it, Jack, this is my time of the month…”
“Not funny at all. Do I look amused?”
Stephenson provides a good list of some standard shit tests here.
And on page 389, on one-itis:
Eliza seemed impressed. Jack was gratified by this—a bad sign. No man was more comprehensively doomed than him whose chief source of gratification was making favorable impressions on some particular woman.
Later in their adventures Jack gets outrageously beta— like, after Eliza harpoons him to a mast (long story) and he is still in luuuuurv with her— so this is definitely not an unqualified endorsement of Stephenson on women. But he does display flashes of insight here and there.
(4) In Bruce Sterling’s Zeitgeist, some conversation among Leggy Starlitz, his daughter Zeta, and Viktor, a minor criminal. Starlitz is a gray-market hustler who’s always working some semi-legal scam. His daughter Zeta, 11, has been raised by her mother and her mother’s lesbian lover until a crisis forces them to hand Zeta over to Starlitz. She’s been with him about a week, as he drags her around on various pieces of semi-underworld business. In Istanbul one of Starlitz’s contacts is a young Russian man named Viktor. The three of them are at a cafe and Viktor steps away for a moment:
“Dad, is Viktor a nice guy?”
“I knew that,” said Zeta triumphantly. “I just knew it. I mean, I get it about Viktor now. Viktor is the guy that Mom One and Mom Two never wanted me to meet. Right?”
“Right… He’s every mother’s nightmare.”
Gah! Bad move, Starlitz! Should have downplayed Viktor’s Bad Boy cred so that your daughter finds him boring. Don’t confirm the “dangerous bad boy” thing, for fuck’s sake! The correct response is something like, “He tries to be a criminal tough guy, but just can’t swing it. He’s always getting beaten up and outwitted by the real criminals.” Something like that.
Zeta put her elbows on the table. “Dad, can I tell you something? Viktor is just the coolest guy, Dad. Viktor Bilibin is just the coolest, dreamiest, gangster guy. He has such amazing eyes. They look like my pet snake’s.” (LOL.)
Starlitz considered this artless confession. At first glance this was a very alarming development, but she wasn’t his own child for nothing. “You don’t need Viktor,” Starlitz informed her…
Viktor rejoins them. He and Starlitz usually speak in Russian, which Zeta doesn’t know, but she has an uncanny ability to suss out the gist of their conversations. Viktor tells Starlitz in Russian,
“Mehmet Ozbey is dead.”
Starlitz laughed. “I saw Ozbey last night.”
Viktor went pale. “I know he’s dead. I had Ozbey hit,” he insisted. “Nobody could have survived that.”
“Dad,” Zeta said thoughfully, “did Viktor kill somebody?”
“He thinks he killed somebody.”
“There’s a big difference.”
Viktor lifted his right hand with two fingers outstretched and his thumb as a revolver hammer. “I killed somebody,” he told her in English, his voice resonant and spooky. “He wanted to kill me, because I know too much. He put me on his hit list. So, I took revenge on him. I had him liquidated. Boom-boom-bang.”
“Wow,” Zeta marveled, eyes like saucers and goose bumps all over her arms. “That’s so corrupt!”
“It was the naked justice of the steets,” Viktor intoned.
“He’s full of it,” Starlitz said.
Much better response.
(5) This wouldn’t normally be categorized as fiction, but I don’t know where else to put it. I’m flipping through this book that my woman has from college: Women Mystics in Medieval Europe, edited by two chicks. I randomly open it to page 77 and start skimming. On page 78 we get this:
Tactile sensations play an important part in Beatrice’s visions: She feels God’s presence passing through her whole body; the Lord pierces her soul with the fire of His love, as with the point of a flamboyant sword, drawing her heart to His. The blood of Christ’s wounds flows into her soul.
As I’ve noted before, women are always being penetrated by men in female-authored material. Interestingly, this happens a lot more than male explorers thrust themselves forcefully into receptive virgin lands or whatever, in material written by men.
Women hate the idea of men having attractiveness standards for women. They freak out at the very idea of men being attracted to some women and not attracted to others.
Many women even seem to think it’s evil, even though, aside from the general outrageousness of that opinion, it’s astonishingly hypocritical – women have pickier standards than men, for fuck’s sake. And it’s not as if one can help one’s attractions. “Attraction is not a choice,” as the dictum goes.
Indeed, this crazy opinion is mostly held by feminists, the vast majority of whom would tell you that we should respect gays’ sexual preference, since they can’t help it. I wonder why they think men can help being attracted to young, healthy women, instead of old or fat ones.
Whatever. I know, I know, it’s not as if feminists care whether feminism makes sense. I should stop being surprised by this sort of shiznit.
Funny how you never see beautiful girls flipping out about male standards, isn’t it?
Enter man-hating whackjob Amy Dickinson, a syndicated “advice columnist.” In March 2018 a female reader wrote to Dickinson that some male students in her MBA program were rumored to have created some sort of hot-or-not list of chicks in the program. The reader admitted that she hadn’t seen the alleged list.
Insane fuckwit Dickinson told the reader that this unseen and possibly non-existent list constituted “harassment,” a “toxic environment,” and “predatory behavior.”
Yes, per this hate-filled crackpot, you’re “harassed” by something that hasn’t happened to you, something that’s not in your environment creates a “toxic environment,” and not wanting to date you constitutes predation.
Here are excerpts from the reader’s insane complaint and Dickinson’s insane response. (If you want to read this puddle of barf, connect the following two strings to re-create the URL: http://amydickinson.com/post/172147310430/
Dear Amy: I am part of an international MBA program… I just found out that [i.e., heard a rumor that] the men in the program have put together a list, ranking all the women in the program by their looks. I’m furious… that the men… have subjected the women in the program to this.
What do you mean, “subjected”? No woman has seen the list, or you would have mentioned it.
I have been told who [allegedly] started the list, and it has been talked about by a few people, but I haven’t seen this list.
Others have suggested asking for the expulsion of the men who have contributed to the list…
You have every right to be angry.
What the fuck?
It’s not harassment, shitbrain! The woman hasn’t experienced anything! Other than hearing a rumor that a list might exist somewhere!
creates toxic environments…
…defined as “things that aren’t part of your environment”…
and havens for predatory behavior (which this list absolutely is).
“Predatory behavior” is defined as a lack of any verifiable “behavior” at all. Dickinson wrote that with a straight face. Also, I like how she apparently thinks that a brazen piece of nonsense can be made to seem credible if you add the word “absolutely.” Good one, genius!
Amy Dickinson has not only thought thoughts which I find abhorrent (really, I find them abhorrent), she has written those thoughts down. Furthermore, there is no doubt that she has written them down, because she has deliberately disseminated them in public under her own name. Therefore, according to Dickinson herself, I now have the right to engage in “retaliation” against her. Seriously, the title of her piece is MBA “hot list” calls for retaliation.
The only way this could get any more extreme is if Dickinson said that alleged behavior in the Andromeda galaxy, that’s not even in your backward light-cone, “predates” upon you. (Yes, I know you don’t know what that means, Dickinson; look it up.)
This needs to stop.
WHAT needs to stop!? Someone, somewhere, having an opinion that the reader doesn’t like? WTF?
If you can obtain hard evidence that this list exists,
LOL, yeah, that would be a necessary step, wouldn’t it? Ideally, that step would come before the outrage.
If you aren’t able to receive hard proof of the list, make an appointment with a faculty member and the dean. Insist that they investigate your allegation.
Da fuck? If the university administrator has any balls, the conversation will go something like this:
Insane feminist lunatic: “I heard a rumor that some male students may not find all women equally attractive, and may have expressed opinions about it in a list. I want you to punish those men!”
Administrator: “Have you seen the list?”
Insane feminist lunatic: “Well, I mean, no, I haven’t technically, y’know seen it, but I’ve heard that such a thing exists.”
Administrator: “Get out of my office.”
Dickinson continues, Don’t get discouraged… be fearless…
Not that there’s anything to be afraid of, but it’s too late for that advice. The chick is sent into paroxysms of hate, fear, and rage that some man, somewhere, may have opinions she doesn’t like. If you’re stressing out over someone thinking something, it’s far too late for “be fearless.”
“I am Woman; hear me roar! I mean, until I get wind of a rumor that someone might have written down an opinion about my attractiveness. Then I collapse into a neurotic mass of quivering nerves, and can’t muster the gumption to do anything but complain to authorities, and hope they solve the problem for me.
But other than that, I am a strong, confident, assertive person!”
When I was in school, at a picnic that had male and female students present, there was a pickup game of touch football among the male students. There was some discussion of the possibility of dividing the players into Shirts and Skins, which was ultimately abandoned. But later, one of the chicks who was there recalled that the female students off on the sideline had had a little chat about which dudes should be Skins and which should be Shirts. So I ran off to the Provost of the University and tried to have those female students expelled. Ha, no. Can you imagine a man doing that? That kind of petty freak-out psychotic blue-nosed totalitarianism is almost entirely a female thing.
As Heartiste has noted, a major purpose of feminism is to restrict male sexuality as much as possible while freeing female sexuality as much as possible. The exchange between Dickinson and her reader is a good illustration of the first half of that observation.
We continue the dissection of a blue-pilled writer’s portrayal of male-female relationships begun in Part 1.
If you’re just joining us: Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves is part of a fantasy series about a master con man. Overall, the series is better than average fantasy fiction, but lordy, the author’s blue-pill notions! Republic’s narrative alternates between two time periods: flashback chapters in which a gang of teen con-artist apprentices learn their trade, and “present day” chapters in which Our Hero has to rig an election. In Part 1, I only presented scenes from the flashback chapters. The first scene in this post is from the “present” action.
Spoiler warning, and I’m going to edit quoted passages for length. Any page numbers are from the hardcover edition.
Locke and his fellow con man Jean have been blackmailed into the following task: The city of Karthain is having an election. Locke and Jean are hired to rig this election. They’ve been engaged by a corrupt organization called the Democratic Par… uh, I mean, the kicker is that Sabetha, Locke’s old flame (and fellow gang member) from years before, has been engaged by the other side to rig the election too. Each side knows the other side has engaged a con artist to rig the election; they allow this for reasons that don’t matter here. Also, both sides know of the romantic history, and have warned Locke and Sabetha not to get into any hanky-panky with each other. They are not forbidden from communicating with each other, though.
Pages 314-27: In Karthain, after not seeing each other for years, Locke and Sabetha are Reunited, and it doesn’t feeeeeeel so gooooood!
“H-hello,” he said.
“Yes. Sabetha. Hello. Uh.”
“Meant to say something grander and wittier, didn’t you?”
Aaaaaaaaaand we’re off. She basically says, “You wanted to impress me.” This is a “You’re hitting on me” shit test, like, “I have a boyfriend” or “Are you hitting on me?” or “I’m not going to have sex with you.” It’s part shit test to assess your poise, part attempt to find out by your reaction whether you actually are hitting on her, and part female status game, an attempt to define herself as the sought-after prize. All in one terse little verbal package. There are aspects of the mating game that women are impressively good at.
“Take my hands,” she said, and he does. Yawn, no. The proper response to that sort of thing was established by Roissy (Chateau v. 1.0) and others more than a decade ago: “No, you might try to take advantage of me,” you say playfully. Or just snort, ignore it, and say what you wanted to say. Women in this kind of situation always try to suck you into their frame. Don’t fall for it. An alpha male, which is what women are looking for, sucks people into his frame, or at least sticks with his own frame.
After more talk Sabetha embraces Locke:
She was so warm and strong, [“strong”? Which one of them is the chick here?] and her scent so instantly familiar… He sighed. “I’d work for free for any chance to be near you. They’re offering a fortune, and I’d throw it in the Amathel [River] for this.” No! “Locke,” she whispered. “Indulge me. Kiss me. My preferred way. From back when we were—”
“Ahhh,” he said, laughing. “Your servant, madam.”
He gently placed his left hand beneath her chin and tilted her head back. Then planted his lips high up the side of her neck… when he felt he’d teased her enough, ran his tongue up and down those same few inches of warm skin.
It turns out that Sabetha has applied a poison to that area of her neck to knock Locke out. Locke notices a weird taste, but thinks it’s her perfume. Then he starts to lose consciousness. To add obnoxiousness to injury, Sabetha gives him a little lecture as he’s passing out:
“You’re not as good as I am, Locke, but you’re too damn good to let you run around fighting fairly. You’ll kill yourself trying to best me, and you can’t expect me to permit that.”
The lesson here should be obvious enough. Sex is the first thing a woman reaches for when she wants to manipulate a man. And a professional con woman, who’s an old flame, and with whom you’re in a competition… Come on, Locke!
He and Jean wake up on a ship far out at sea, LOL.
407-13, flashback scene. The con artist apprentices have been sent to a theater troupe to learn acting by performing in a play. Sabetha is on the roof going over her lines. Locke joins her, supplicatingly asking for the privilege of hanging out with her and paying for her attention with an offering of wine. Literally, he actually asks her, “Can I sit beside you?” The problem with this, of course, is that it should be, “May I sit beside you?” NO! That’s not the problem; the problem is that it’s wussily supplicating.
Also, she in her self-centeredness can’t resist accusing him of trying to get her drunk in order to fuck her. So annoying. He’s just offering you some wine, you silly bitch.
Whatever. She deigns to allow him to sit near her, and the “conversation,” such as it is, begins. Once again, as in the previous post, it’s all meta, conversation about their relationship. I’ll skip over that part. (Which goes on for freaking pages!) Eventually Locke makes a wince-inducing declaration. I don’t have the strength to quote the whole effin’ thing; here are the high, er low points:
“I, uh, I’m tired of talking behind my hands and dropping hints. These are my cards on the table. I think you’re beautiful.”
Sorry to interrupt just when you’re getting rolling, Locke, but: As a rule of thumb, you should not compliment a woman on her looks. The reason is this: In spite of all feminist agitprop to the contrary, females know at a gut level that their physical attractiveness is the most important part of their sexual market value. I’m not talking about a long-term relationship like marriage, where personality enters the picture in a big way. Rather, think of a young woman’s SMV. (Sabetha is 17 in this scene.) It’s more than 50% looks. Yeah, so? Won’t it make her feel good to compliment her looks, then? Yes, and that’s a mistake. You don’t want her to “feel good,” because that means she’ll think she’s too good for you. This is Female Hypergamy 101. Your job, if you want to do some co-ed spelunking, is not to make the girl feel good. It’s to make her feel that your overall SMV is about 2 points higher than hers. That’s enough to make her hypergamous cooch wet for you while you still seem within her reach.
My rule of thumb is this: A woman generally thinks she’s 1 or 2 points better-looking than she really is. And she wants to get a man who is 2 points higher than her if she can. This leads to weird things like a woman who’s objectively an overall 5 not wanting to “settle” for any man who’s less than an overall 9, which flaming lack of realism is one of the reasons the modern dating scene is so fucked up. In more realistic cases, a female 5 will seriously pursue a male 7, rejecting male 5’s and 6’s. Then she ends up as a cat lady. The point is this: As a man, your interest in a girl might spike if she squeezes your biceps and says, “Wow, you’re so muscular!” But a girl’s interest in you does NOT spike if you tell her, “Garsh, you’re so pretty!” She thinks, “Excellent, I’m attractive. And I’m obviously too good for this guy, since he’s impressed by me.”
Short version: If you’re going to compliment a girl, do it like French man: Make it so over-the-top that it seems sarcastic, like you don’t really mean it. (“You look radiant, mademoiselle; I grovel at your feet. And I’ll have an espresso and a latte, no sugar.”) The French are far ahead of us on this stuff, which is why their men are such a bunch of ravening assholes.
(When I wrote the latte thing I envisioned the dude saying it to a barista at a coffee bar. But it would be fuckin hilarious if you just said it to a random chick as if you mistook her for a waitress, LOL. That could be a good neg, though it’s kind of nuclear so you’d have to know what you’re doing to pull it off. She’s guaranteed to squawk like a wet hen. Also, you’d have to be able to say it with a straight face; I’m not sure I could.)
Locke continues: “I feel like I’m an idiot [agreed, you are] with dirt on his face sitting next to someone out of a painting. [gah!] …Frankly, I’d kiss your shadow. [GAH!] I’d kiss dirt that had your heel print in it. [GAAAAAAH!! Make it stop!] I admire everything about you [I admire her ability to not throw him off the rooftop for this ass-kissing announcement], even your temper [huh?] and your moods [what?] and the way you take gods-damned offense when I breathe wrong around you. [Oh HELL no!] I admire the way you’re good at everything you do, even when it makes me feel small enough to drown myself in this wine cup.” Well, do it then, you spineless fuckbag!
Aside from the wussiness, this is also bad seduction technique because (1) it puts way too much attention on the girl – any human being, male or female, would feel self-conscious having this blast of oral servicing directed at them – and (2) it doesn’t give her much by way of options. I mean, how is she supposed to respond to this? “Yes, Locke, you’re right, I am quite awesome in every way, and my beauty is matched only by my wonderful moods (LOL, WTF?) and the fact that I’m excellent at everything.”
Plainly that won’t work, which is why PUAs came up with verbal games like Marry-Fuck-Kill and other ways of getting the girl participating in the conversation.
Locke considers his past few statements and concludes that he wasn’t being wussy enough, so it gets worse. Recall from Part 1:
Sabetha to Locke: “Years ago, I was the oldest child in a small gang. I was sent away by my master to train in dancing and manners. When I returned, I found that a younger child had taken my place. Calo and Galdo, who once treated me as a goddess on earth, had transferred their allegiance to the newcomer.”
And now we see what has been bothering her. This entitlement-mentality little twat thinks she has some sort of right to have everyone else worship her.
So Locke now says to her, “I’m sorry. If I’ve pushed you aside… if I’ve screwed up anything that you felt was rightfully yours, I apologize.”
Watching this dumpster fire of masochistic groveling makes me feel like Beavis when wuss music comes on MTV: “Butthead, change it! Change it or kill me!”
Locke actually affirms this chick’s right to be treated “as a goddess on earth.” What the fuck!? And he apologizes for – unintentionally – supplanting her. And it makes even less sense than that, because if Sabetha has some right to be treated like a god, then why doesn’t Locke also have a right to be treated like a god? But it gets even stupider, because these kids do not treat each other as gods. They are constantly saying things to each other like, “Suck vinegar out of my ass,” etc. (Actual quote. Scott Lynch is pretty good at thinking up memorable insults, one of the notable stylistic features of this series.)
Page 412-3, the drama rises. Locke recalls out loud the first time he saw her free her gawageous red hair in the sunlight and it glinted with heavenly glittering, or whatever. It makes you flash on those scenes they have in cheesy movies in which the babe whips off her hat and swings her hair around dramatically in slow-mo. Cue the “Ohhhhh, yeeeeeeaaaaah,” voiceover from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Inexplicably, drama queen asshole starts screaming about how Locke only likes her because she’s a redhead. Her freakout is completely disproportionate to what he said and we’re wondering why she’s suddenly gone even more psycho than usual. She tells him to get lost, so he does, briefly. When he and Sabetha are alone again, he actually grows a pair and says to her, “You owe me an explanation. I will not let you push me aside just because you’re pitching a fit!” My God, there actually are some nads in there somewhere!
“I am not pitching a fit!” she says, despite the obvious fact that she’s pitching a fit. By the way, women always know when they’re pitching a fit, and they don’t respect you if you put up with it.
Sabetha continues, “You cannot be so wholly ignorant. Do you know what they pay for red-haired girls in Jerem? Do you know what they do to us if we’re pristine?”
She then describes a horrible practice that some sick fucks do to red-haired girls. I’ll spare you the nasty details, but it boils down to this: It’s thought that men can cure various diseases they might have by gang-raping a red-haired virgin to death.
That is terrible. But it never happened to Sabetha. The worst she can plead to is living in fear. And since it didn’t happen where they grew up (she’d have to be abducted and carried off) and since she dyed her hair brown and kept it tucked under her hat, the risk was very small. Furthermore, since this disgusting practice is only believed to work if the girl in question is a virgin, she could have just gone and fucked some dude as soon as she was old enough, thus eliminating the risk right there.
And Locke didn’t know about this horrific practice. And it’s not like he was planning on raping her to death!
What is actually going on here? In plot terms, the author needs drama here, so that’s the actual reason for this. Within the fictional universe, whether the author realizes this or not, Sabetha is freaking out in order to attention whore, play drama queen, and play damsel in distress. This. Is. A. Shit. Test. What she is testing you for specifically, with this kind of shit test, is whether she can jerk you around by your emotions.
Here’s a question for ya, poochy: Does a girl sleep with a guy she can jerk around? That would be No. I don’t know how I’d handle this, but it certainly wouldn’t be by apologizing. I think I’d offer her a bag of Skittles and tell her to calm the fuck down. Guaranteed to work better than letting her control you by tugging on your heart strings.
On pages 479-81, Locke’s friend Jean loses his virginity to an older woman. Afterwards, Jean:
“Hey, there’s a… sorry, beneath your legs did we…?”
“Ah. My apprentice, allow me to introduce you to the concept of the wet spot.”
“Is that uncomfortable?”
“Well, it’s not what I’d call ideal. Hey, what are you—”
With an enthusiastic excess of groping and giggling, he applied his strength to shifting their positions. In a few moments, he’d pushed her to the dry side of the bed and taken her former place.
“Mmmmm. Jean, you have a gallant streak.”
Psssht. A real man would get a log from the fire, clock her over the head with it, and make her change the sheets. But seriously, why switch places? Someone has to be on the wet spot, and the girl’s going to think you’re a wuss if you pull that move, comments about gallantry notwithstanding. That’s the reality of female psychology.
Well, this dissection of blue-pill butt-fuckery has spanned two posts now. I’d like to draw things to a close, so I’ll just mention, without quoting in detail, some other blue pill stuff in this novel:
505-6: Scott Lynch can’t seem to even imagine a man making a pass at a woman. We are never shown an example of this in the entire three-book series so far. When Locke and Sabetha lose their virginity to each other in a flashback scene, it’s because she enlists a friend to drag Locke to a secret room she found in the hotel where they’re staying, so they can fuck there. Locke is drinking in the hotel bar when his buddy comes and drags him upstairs to the secret compartment where Sabetha is waiting. Then she’s just basically like, “I had him bring you up here so you could do me.” Then she kisses him. This ain’t great. Obviously women often make the first move in the sense of the first expression of interest (college, whoo-hoo!). But it’s a little much if the man doesn’t make the first physical move. Yeah, that can get you accused of “sexual assault” on a college campus in an “affirmative consent” state these days. For fuck’s sake, don’t go to college in an “affirmative consent” state.
468-70: In the present day, Locke and Sabetha are talking about how many people they’ve each boinked in the five years since they’ve seen each other. Locke confesses that he hasn’t screwed one chick in that five years. GAAAH, NOOOOOOOOO!!! Even if that’s true, you can’t tell the girl that; she’ll tag you as a loser. Just lie or just refuse to talk about this subject. Even worse, Sabetha says she’s had sex with several men in that time. This puts their relative notch counts topsy-turvy to what they should be.
So in summary: An above-average fantasy series, if you can stomach the main character’s invertebrate notions about women. Good pacing in plots that revolve around heists/capers, world-building that’s thorough without falling into the trap of being distractingly over-detailed, and amusing dialogue (aside from the wussy stuff). But the author’s blue-pilled notions about women could be used as a freakin’ textbook in What Not To Do. If you like fantasy, try the first one, The Lies of Locke Lamora. The chick is absent from that one, which keeps the blue pill stuff out and allows the main character to act like he actually has a Y chromosome most of the time.
The Gentleman Bastard novels are a series of three (so far) fantasy novels by Scott Lynch. The setting is fantasy, but magic plays only a small role until the last quarter or so of the first novel.
First, the Good: They’re generally quite good, entertaining novels. The first, The Lies of Locke Lamora, is an excellent novel about a crew of con men. The pacing is zippy, the characterization is good, the worldbuilding is comprehensive without being in-your-face about it, and the dialogue is much more amusing than average. (The language is quite earthy, so readers of a fragile turn of mind should ask a friend to cross out the swears first; this will also halve the book’s length.)
The setting is a fantasy world at around an 18th century level of technology. The first novel is set in Camorr, a typical fantasy city with both gorgeous palaces and feces-clogged gutters, etc. The central character, Locke Lamora, is the best con man in the world. The narrative structure is back-and-forth through time, so we see “the education of the supreme con man” in the flashbacks and another story in the “present day” sections. It’s a romp. The next two novels are also good, though not as good as the first one.
The Bad: The author has unfortunate male feminist notions about chicks. (His Twitter account and web site confirm that his politics swing left.) This didn’t matter in the first novel because Lamora’s love interest is on another continent and we only get like two sentences of backstory about his pathetic obsessive crush the woman. But the third novel, The Republic of Thieves, makes it apparent that the author is a horribly blue-pilled dude who has the most outrageously wussy notions about how to deal with women. This emerges in Republic because Miss Love Interest has a major role, in both current action and flashbacks. A dozen times Locke puts up with crap from this chick, one Sabetha, which would make me put a bullet through her eye. (Note: Not optimal Game either, but at least you wouldn’t have to listen to her bitching.)
As always, I’m going to edit quoted passages for length, cutting dialogue and eliminating most description of scenery. Any page numbers are from the hardcover edition.
Page 10 et seq. Their first meeting is when Locke is like six years old (no one knows his age), living in a school that turns orphans into thieves. Sabetha, an older student there, is assigned to be his minder on a training task and he thinks, basically, “I’m in luuuuuuurv!” But her first words to him are:
“You’re the Lamora boy, right?”
He nodded eagerly.
“Well, look here, you little shit. I’ve heard all about you, so just shut up and keep those reckless hands in your pockets.” (Locke has acquired a reputation for stealing too much, even though it’s a thief school.) “I swear to all the gods, if you give me one hint of trouble, I will heave you off a bridge and it will look like an accident.”
Makes you want to kick her in the pussy. We don’t know Locke’s response, because that’s the end of that scene.
Pages 133-4: At a young age – Locke’s maybe 11, Sabetha 13 – the thief school has sold them both to the same con man. They’re two of five kids this master con man is training. One day he pits Locke and Sabetha against each other in a con artist contest. The loser has to do the winner’s dishes for three days. It ends in a draw. Sabetha, being a howling cunt, is pissed about this:
“You were just sloppy. And I was sloppy to fall for it!”
“No, Sabetha, look,” said Locke. “You weren’t sloppy, you were brilliant, you deserved to win—”
“That’s right,” she said. “But you didn’t lose, so I didn’t win.”
“Look, I concede. I give it to you. I’ll do all your kitchen chores for three days, just like—”
“I don’t want your damned concession! I won’t take your pity as a coin.”
“It’s not pity, honest! I want your chores, it would be a pleasure. It would be my, my privelege.”
GAH! Get some self-respect, you fucking pussy! God, I want to punch him so badly. And don’t tell me his youth is an excuse because I’ve never known any boy who treated a girl like that at any age. WTF?
You might think, from an evo psych perspective, that if another male, a potential competitor for da wymens, is an outrageous wussy, that should make you happy, because it makes you look that much better by comparison. Yet it just fills you with anger. Probably because fighting off rival tribes in the ancestral environment required that the other men in your tribe not be a bunch of fucking pathetic wussies. There are serious negative consequences to other men from those little ratfucks being such invertebrate pussbags.
221: A couple of years later, Locke has just let Sabetha beat him up in a baton training exercise. Later his friend Jean tries to set him straight:
“You’re a real idiot from time to time.”
“What did I do, besides fail to be a master baton duelist?”
“You’d have stood there and let her slap you into paste just for the sake of being in the same room as her. I know it. You know it. She knows it.”
“It’s not endearing, Locke. You don’t court a girl by inviting her to abuse you from sunrise to sunset.”
This is good advice, of course. Unfortunately, Locke’s response to it is to make a wise-ass remark: “Really? Because that sounds an awful lot like courtship in every story I’ve ever read—”
“It’s not charming or impressive. It just makes you look silly.”
Locke makes three mistakes here. One is having One-itis in the first place. This is the most forgivable mistake, since it’s natural for a such a young man. But it’s still a mistake. Two is being a wuss to the girl. Three is trying to learn about how to charm women from fiction. No! You learn about women from interacting with women. There is no other way. The counterintuitive nature of female sexuality is God’s way of telling us, “Be empiricist, bitches!”
If Lynch had made Locke shape up, this could have been a “red pill in fiction” post. Guy does wrong thing, gets bad result; does right thing, gets good result. But Locke continues to be a wuss with this chick but eventually gets between her legs. In isolation, the foregoing excerpt suggests that Lynch has a clue, but it’s undercut by the rest of the novel.
Pages 231-4: The gang now consists of one leader and five teenagers; Locke, Jean, Sabetha and a pair of identical twins, the Sanza brothers. Their mentor is sending all five of them out of town for a while; to improve their con artistry they’re going to be actors for a summer. This scene takes place the evening before they start their ten-day voyage to the theater. Locke is still smitten with this obnoxious twat. He is going to buy dinner for the gang. He says to Sabetha,
“You want to come with?”
“You need me to?”
“Well…I’d like you to.”
She stared at him for a few seconds, during which Locke experienced the curious sensation of his heart apparently sinking several inches deeper into his chest. [Wussy. But okay, that’s adult me talking. This kid is like 16 so we’ll cut him some slack. He hasn’t been hardened by experience with women the way older males have been.] Then she shrugged.
(They start walking.)
“I was, ah, hoping I could talk to you,” he said.
“Easily done,” said Sabetha. “Open your mouth and let words come out.”
“I– Look, can you not…can you please not be glib with me?”
“Requesting miracles now, are we?” Sabetha kicked a stone. “Look, I’m sorry. Contemplating ten days stuck together on the road. The whole thing has me feeling like a hedgehog, rolled up with my spikes out.”
“Oh, a hedgehog is the last thing I would ever compare you to,” Locke said with a laugh.
“Interesting,” said Sabetha, “that I mention my own feelings, and you seem to think that what I’m after is reassurance concerning your perceptions.”
What a cunt. The gentlest response this merits is “What the fuck are you talking about?” Or if you’re just sick of this crap, which I would be, “Look, just don’t talk to me any more except as necessary for our business.” If you want to game her (why would you? There are plenty of other vaginas in the world), then “Are you always such a drama queen?” would do it. (Or whatever is this fictional universe’s equivalent of “drama queen.”) That would prompt a shit test, of course, which you’d pass, because you’re Game enough to be expecting it, right?
“You know,” said Locke, feeling his hands shake nervously with what he was about to put into the open, “you know that when I’m around you I find it very easy to shove my foot into my mouth.”
“Mmmmm,” she said.
“More than that. You make use of the advantage.”
“I do.” She looked at him strangely. “You fancy me.”
“When you aren’t acting like a wanker,” he should say, but doesn’t. Or: “Actually, I haven’t made up my mind about you yet.” He actually says, “That… that is… really… not how I would have…”
“Not as grand in plain speech as it is up here?” She tapped her forehead.
“Sabetha, I… I value your good opinion more than anything else in the world.” GAAAAAHH!!! NO! Never mind effective charming of women, get some fucking balls! He continues, “There’s this fog between us. I don’t know what I did to put it there, but I would throw myself under a cart to lift it.”
You damned pussy! Just throw yourself under a cart already!
Isn’t this painful to read?
Sabetha: “Why do you assume it’s something you’ve done?” This is the first non-annoying thing she’s said. Don’t worry, though; she quickly adds more obnoxiousness: “I’m not some arithmetic problem just waiting for you to show your work properly. Did you ever think that I might have warm-blooded motives of my own, being as I’m not an oil painting, or some other decorative object of desire— ”
Ugh. Standard female bullshit. “Don’t put me on a pedestal! You’re putting me on a pedestal because I’m so attractive! You desire me!” She’s trying to define herself as the prize, the person to be pursued, though I suppose that’s water over the dam, since Locke already tipped his hand on that. It’s also like those ugly fatties in “slut walks” who hold up signs saying, “Don’t treat me as a sex object,” LOL, you wish.
Plus the feminist “Don’t pedestalize me” is a way of saying, “If you say nice stuff about me you’re oppressing me!” Of course, they also say, “If you say non-nice stuff about me you’re oppressing me!” Partly this is a shit test, obviously. Partly it’s a woman’s natural reaction of panic to a desperate beta drooling over her. Women’s gut-level reaction to that is “Ick! Beta pregnancy risk! Get away! Get away!” But they feel they can’t say that explicitly, so it comes out in elliptical ways like “Don’t pedastalize me!”
Locke’s response is amusing:
“Do you like me?” Locke blurted. This is bad, of course, since it shows concern for her opinion. But it actually has a couple of redeeming features: At last he’s cutting through the bullshit and getting to the point. He’s also ignoring her frame, just crashing through it and putting the convo into his frame. If he had blurted almost anything else, it would have been half decent. He continues: “At all? Am I at least preferable to an empty room?”
“I do sometimes admire you, if it helps to hear it.”
“It means everything to hear it,” he said. Dork.
Painful though this is, I’ve cut more than half of it. Man! This is like a textbook lesson in what not to do.
Aside from the male feminist wuss notions, there’s also the other problem: The weird notion that relationships should involve a lot of talk about the relationship. Ugh. Only a woman could have thought up such a stupid notion. (Even though women don’t actually like this one tenth as much as they think they will when they’re theorizing about it.) And blue-pilled men like Scott Lynch often fall for it.
In fact, the “meta” stuff in relationships should be rare. Usually conversation in a relationship should involve topics other than the relationship. Indeed, if the conversation doesn’t involve other subjects, then the meta stuff necessarily exhausts itself quickly, because there’s nothing else to talk about. How would a relationship based on meta conversations go, anyway? Typical conversation:
“I love you!”
“Yay, I love you, too! And the fact that you love me makes me feel great!”
“I feel the same way! The fact that you love me makes me feel great!”
“I’m glad that my love for you makes you feel great!”
“And I have the same feeling, but with the roles reversed!”
Okaaaaay… And then?
“I’m really glad that the fact that your love for me makes me feel great, pleases you!”
“Oh, same here! I think. This is getting kinda complicated…”
“Yes, I too feel the challenge of trying to keep track of all the levels! So we have that in common as well!”
If your date conversation goes this self-referential, you are not getting laid, unless you’re dating Kurt Godel or Jacques Derrida.
You know how some people bite off more than they can chew? Well, conversations of this type chew more than they’ve bitten off, if you see what I mean. You have to have some actual substance to feed into the machine so it has something to work with.
Inevitably, the conversations between Locke and Sabetha are horrible, but Lynch actually does pretty well given that he’s writing dialogue subject to this constraint. This whole thing about relationships based on talking about the relationship is a weird piece of idiocy whipped up by old maids who had never had a relationship and were theorizing a priori about such. (That opinion of mine is based on the comprehensive research of vaguely recalling old Ann Landers columns from the 1980s, and suchlike.) The whole thing reeks of forming your opinions about relationships by reading “relationship books.” Gah! No! DON’T do that! If you’re empiricist about only one thing in your entire life, make it male-female interactions.
277-84, Locke puts up with Sabetha’s unprovoked cuntiness on the road to Espara, the place where the theater is. During their voyage they stop for the night at a village on the road. Everyone else has gone off to explore the town so Locke and Sabetha are alone in their camp.
“I, ah, regret not having a chance to speak to you last night,” he said. [They’d had a little mini date of sorts, which she skipped out on. Flaking: Even blue-pilled writers know about it.] “Oh? Was it any real loss to either of us?”
“Well…damn. You’re obviously in a mood.”
“Am I?” There was danger in her tone. “Am I really? Why should that be exceptional? A boy may be as disagreeable as he pleases, but when a girl refuses to crap sunshine on command the world mutters darkly about her moods.”
BULLSHIT, you fucking cunt! Aargh, I know she’s fictional and this STILL pisses me off! The truth is, women can get away with acting like outrageous bitches, and nothing will happen to them. If a man acts like a tough guy when he’s not, or offends the wrong man, he risks being physically attacked. The crap that women get away with BECAUSE they’re women is unbelievable. And here she is asserting that she’s put upon because she’s a girl. Aargh! Fucking twat! Example: Call a girl a cunt, and it’s “ZOMG! Gendered insults!” But call a man a dick, and no one says anything. Same for bitch/bastard. In other words, people make up reasons to defend you if you’re female, solely because you’re female. That’s privilege, by feminists’ own definition of privilege.
(I don’t care much one way or the other, but let’s be consistent, assholes.)
“If I’m in a mood,” Sabetha said after a moment, “it’s because this journey is unfolding as I had foreseen. Tedium, bumpy roads, and biting insects.”
“Do I count as part of the tedium or one of the biting insects?” [WEAK; shows he cares what she thinks of him.] “If I didn’t know any better,” she said softly, “I’d swear the sweeper was attempting to be charming.”
Why would that be charming? Whatever. Notice we’ve gone meta again. For her it’s normal, since going meta is one way that chicks have of shit-testing you, trying to disrupt your game to see how solid your frame is, and trying to throw themselves out of state so they don’t have sex with every guy who has memorized a couple of good lines. But for a man it’s a dangerous trap, and Locke makes the mistake of jumping right into it: “You might as well assume,” said Locke, “that I’m always attempting to be charming where you’re concerned.” [Weak.] “Now, that’s risky.” Sabetha rolled sideways and jumped down beside him. “That sort of directness compels a response, but what’s it to be? Do I encourage you in this sort of talk or do I stop you cold?”
More fucking meta stuff! BTW, ladies, don’t do this unless you’re really trying to throw a man’s conversation with you off track. If you’re actually interested in keeping his interest alive, don’t bore him to death like this. At least, I’d be bored. Often, in fiction, TV, and movies, when the chick and a dude are dragging out the run-up to finally hooking up, you’re like, “For fuck’s sake, just hook up already!” It’s bad when you’re like, “For fuck’s sake, just give her a wedgie and move on already!”
A few lines of dialogue later she says,
“Tell me, how do you even know for sure that I don’t fancy girls?”
“I—” Locke was lucky to spit the one syllable out before the power of coherent speech ran up a white flag and deserted him.
“You never even thought about that, did you?” she said, her voice a sly whisper.
Lame. The whole girl-on-girl thing was hot back in the 1990s, when it was new. (New to pop culture, of course; not new in porn.) Now it’s played out. I don’t know the deal in this fictional universe, but plainly we’re supposed to be hot and bothered imagining ULTRA-HOT GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION!!! Yawn.
After she admits that she is in fact straight, he confesses that he has been in luuuuuurv with her ever since he was like five: “Sabetha, I don’t remember my own father, and my mother is as much a mystery. But the moments I’ve spent with you, they’re still with me, smoldering like coals. I can touch them and feel the heat.”
Gah, I’m feeling the pain from this cheesiness.
She, reasonably enough, is like, whoa, slow down there, Trigger! She then points out that the situation they’re in, what with all the con artist training, etc., adds too many complications for a relationship to be convenient.
At this point two other gang members, the Sanza twins, return, there’s a little discussion, and then the Sanzas decide to go back into the village and take it for everything it has at cards.
“Hold on,” said Locke. “Since when are you two criminals?”
“Since…” Calo pretended to calculate. “Sometime between first leaving mother and hitting the ground between her legs.”
“I know the Sanzas are as crooked as a snake in a clockwork snake-bending machine,” said Locke, “but the Asino brothers [their fake identity] are actors, not cardsharps.”
He convinces the Sanzas that it’s better to stay honest, and to just go back to the village and rustle up some food. When the Sanzas are gone it’s just Locke and Sabetha again, and…
Locke detected a sudden coolness in her demeanor.
“That right there,” she said, “would be one of the obstacles I mentioned.”
“You really didn’t notice?”
“Notice what? What am I meant to realize?”
“Years ago,” said Sabetha, “I was the oldest child in a small gang. I was sent away by my master to train in dancing and manners. When I returned, I found that a younger child had taken my place.”
“Calo and Galdo, who once treated me as a goddess on earth, had transferred their allegiance to the newcomer. In time, he got himself a third ally [Jean].”
And now we see what has been bothering her. This entitlement-mentality little twat thinks she has some sort of right to have everyone else worship her. She actually presumes to be angry and resentful that they don’t! Not only that, but the guy to whom their attentions shifted didn’t even cause this on purpose. He just happens to be the best of them, and in any case, she wasn’t even around for a year. God, this chick! She really does believe that she has the right to be the center of the universe. Ugh.
She says, functioning as a mouthpiece for every annoying feminist ever, “Haven’t you ever noticed that suggestions from me are treated as suggestions, while suggestions from you are taken as sacred warrant? Even if those suggestions are identical?”
First of all, no. This line would at least make sense within-universe if Lynch had actually shown an example of it happening, but he never does. Secondly, even if it is true, Sabetha should take it up with the Sanzas and Jean. Their behavior is not Locke’s responsibility.
In other words, she not only thinks she is divinely appointed to be the Queen of the Galaxy, but she actually expects Locke to enforce her status as Galaxy Queen, because she can’t even be arsed to do it herself! This is entitlement of a mind-bending level that I’ve never encountered before. At least dictators from Napoleon to Lenin to Mao realized they had to fight and win a civil war themselves! They didn’t say to someone else, “Hey, you go fight a civil war and then install me as Dictator.” God! The sheer arrogance of this fucking cunt is unbelievable! She not only thinks she should be Empress of the Universe, she expects other people to appoint her Empress, and she whines that she’s put upon because they don’t!
Hey, you! Neurotoxin here. You’re oppressing me by not ordering everyone to obey me and treat me as God of the Universe! Stop oppressing me right now, and go and tell everyone to worship me and obey my every word!
Alright, this is as much as I can stand for now, and probably as much as you can stand too. To be continued.
Every now and then some fuck-witted liberal, or occasionally a libertarian, will say that the human species really is not that violent, and that we’d all just get along if only (etc.).
This is dangerously naive. Anthropologists, before modern political correctness became a big problem, documented how very murderous our species is. There are cases in which a village in Africa will do a night raid on another village and kill every man, woman, and child in it. Also, western intellectuals sometimes say (either with self-flagellating guilt or chest-puffing pride) that Western culture’s militaries are the world’s deadliest. Well, in terms of raw numbers I’m inclined to believe that (if we ignore Mao, anyway), but it seems to be just a fact about military technology. In proportional terms were are not especially lethal.
(The content of this paragraph is drawn from Steven Pinker’s wonderfully heterodox The Blank Slate.)
This also explains why people who aren’t completely insane have a gut-level instinct against admitting people from other cultures into their societies, at least in large numbers. That’s an instinct, plainly; it’s not learned, no matter many idiots insist it is leaned. Consider those African night raids again.
In this regard, the difference between male and female instincts is, once again, clear and relevant. Men vote against invaders and political groups that want to admit invaders. Women are more complicated. I have noted before that many women will work to admit invaders into their home societies so they can play a game of Let’s You and Him Fight. For real-world examples see the USA and Western Europe lately. For a fictional example see my review of Justina Robson’s Keeping It Real.
Note, though, that while men clearly want to exclude invaders, women are split. In the 2016 election, “only” 43% of white women voted for the pro-invasion candidate. 53% of white women voted for the anti-invader candidate. The rest threw their vote away on third party candidates rather than vote for the pro-invader candidate the media was telling them to vote for. This has to do with the African slaughter I mentioned above: Women are sometimes prizes in war, but sometimes victims of war. Being invaded is a gamble from a woman’s point of view. From a man’s point of view it’s always bad.
Thus we have some women in some contexts supporting invasion of their own societies; other women in other contexts oppose it.
It is also a fact that women try to gain sexual access to alpha men and prevent contact with beta men. This affects sexual harassment procedure, mostly designed by women, as it applies to the workplace, e.g. They try to exclude sub-alpha males from social-sexual contact with them. The point is, women don’t always want an influx of any men into their sanctuaries. Reproductive optimization from a female’s point of view is more complicated than that.
In Nash Equilibrium, we would not expect all women to be genetically programmed to issue society-threatening shit tests. The reason is that, if say half the women start such, the other half will also gain the knowledge or benefit from the results (whatever those benefits are). Furthermore, a woman who doesn’t shit test is more attractive to men than one who does. She free rides on the shit-testers, at their expense. Free riding generally plays the villain in discussions of human interactions, and often rightly so, but this is a case in which free riding has good consequences.
(A reminder to any chicks reading this: The fact that you find shit tests and the associated drama and strife to be fun and exciting, doesn’t mean that men do. Any more than the fact that dung beetles like eating poop means that you also like eating poop. Men and women are really different, biologically different.)
It might be objected that maybe there is just one kind of psychology of shit testing, so any woman who has the “shit testing genes,” i.e. all women, will potentially throw out a society-threatening shit test. But still: some women are more shit-testy, some less so.
Some nuances etc. on my last post. I wanted to make the basic point before including the complications.
1) The evolutionary effect is not always something dramatic like you getting caught and eaten by a lion, or you or your offspring starving. E.g., peacocks have fancy tails because that attracts peahens, for no awesome reason. This is a runaway sexual selection result that cannot last in the long run – it’s like an asset bubble in Finance, a temporary deviation from a more stable situation. That tail is burdensome. Put a new predator in the peacock’s environment and see what happens. (But don’t do this if you like peacocks.)
2) Another qualification is there are equilibria with a mix of features across individuals. This can happen because some features depend on the prevalence of themselves and other features. So an equilibrium can have, say, 60% of feature A and 40% of feature B. Not all features are like having better eyesight, which is always better.
An example from David Friedman: Suppose, simplistically, that you can be born with a temperament to always fight (“hawk”) or never fight (“dove”). (Don’t sperg out; I said it’s a simplistic example.) The payoff to being a fighter depends on the prevalence of other fighters. If there are lots of such people, then if you’re starting fights constantly you’ll soon encounter another fighter. So you’ll run afoul of the Law of Large Numbers eventually and be outselected (killed or injured to an extent that hampers your reproductive success). So if there are a lot of fighters in the population, the average payoff to being a fighter is negative, so the percent of fighters in the population declines.
On the other hand, if the percent of fighters in the population is small, this doesn’t happen much. So you pick a fight with someone who just killed an antelope, he very probably runs away and you take the antelope. Lots of food at a trivial metabolic cost! So the average payoff to being a fighter is high if the percent of fighters in the population is small. So if there are few fighters the percent of fighters in the population will rise.
So if the percent is low it tends to rise and if it’s high it tends to fall. This, kids, is known as “stable dynamics.” The proportion of fighters in the population will converge to some stable percent such that the mean reproductive success of fighters and non-fighters is the same.
(BTW, I suspect a similar point is true for r/K theory, if that theory is descriptive of homo sapiens. We seem to be in a high-r period now, but that can’t last because a critical mass of rs is a problem that prompts a response from the Ks. Ks are getting PO’d, starting to fight back, electing God-Emperors, etc., while the rs themselves (whether they realize it or not) are starting a civil war that just can’t end well for them. They’re too impulsive and inclined to ignore tactics, strategy, caution, the long-run consequences of current actions, etc.)
3) In the previous post I asked, “why didn’t the subdominant males simply gang up to kill the dominant males and/or their children?”
And in the comments Alf said,
“Because the most dominant subdominant males answered to the dominant male, and in return received their share of the women. That has been the evolutionary deal between the dominant and subdominant males, and is reflected in the evolutionary fact that while all women get wettest for alpha males, they will pair bond with beta males.”
Indeed, alpha males are as capable of strategic alliances as anyone else.
In fact, alphas can be quite pro-social, especially with others of around their status level. Think of the way that guys on the college football team interacted with each other.
And of course, alpha/beta is not a binary thing; it’s a continuum.
4) The complications in the following turn out to explode quickly, so here’s the short version:
There’s a possible version of the human story that’s more pleasant than children of low-dominance males being directly or indirectly killed: Say that if you were an average man you had fine reproductive success, e.g., three (surviving) children, but if you were an alpha you had, say, six. Maybe this is because alpha traits are good for, e.g., hunting, which provides for children. So the most hair-raising version of the story isn’t the only possibility.
But I doubt this kind of effect can explain why all (it seems) women prefer dominant men. That’s because, while alphas and good providers have some overlap, when they’re distinct, women have a clear preference for alphas. A woman settles for a provider. She gets wet for an alpha.
I don’t think optimistic versions can explain women’s strong preference for alphas, because any optimistic argument (I can think of) that predicts an attraction to alpha (dominant) men also predicts an attraction to good providers. So optimistic arguments can’t explain women’s real-world preference for alphas.
What I mean is this: Suppose some men’s children have particularly high survival rates. Call these H men (for high-survival). For the moment it’s not important why these men’s kids have especially high survival rates. It’s easy to show that women who have a hardwired preference to mate with H men will gradually have their female descendants become 100% of females. (I did some arithmetic to check; the result is exactly what you’d expect.)
Now here’s the problem: The validity of the above argument doesn’t depend on the reason that a given man is H. That’s a problem because what’s to be explained is women’s strong preference for alpha males in particular. In light of that fact, the foregoing argument is too broad: It implies women should be indifferent between varieties of H men such as alphas versus providers. But they actually aren’t indifferent.
So it looks like we are back to the original dark view of the matter.
In fact, the failure of the optimistic argument is even worse, because it draws its false conclusion with even more confidence than it seems at first. That’s because it implies that any H man, regardless of why he’s H, should benefit from…
5) … positive feedback: Kinship support groups and conflict. If you get into violent conflict, your siblings are likely to support you. This raises your survival probability. Say H men have on average 6 surviving offspring and non-H men have 3. Then if you’re a non-H’s child you have 2 siblings who might support you in a conflict . If you’re an H’s child you have 5 siblings who might support you. This raises H children’s survival probability even more.
So the argument once again predicts a strong attraction to good providers just as strong as an attraction to socially dominant men. But empirically, that’s not observed.
What we actually observe is that women are most attracted to socially dominant men. This tells us that such men’s offspring had the highest survival probability in the ancestral environment.
In my (rapidly growing) set of notes on this topic, here’s one possibly-important qualification:
Do “all” women really prefer men who are unpleasantly socially dominant? The extent to which this is true should be investigated. E.g., as far as I could tell, most girls in my high school didn’t date thugs or seem to want to date them. Indifferent “bad boys,” yes, absolutely, but the truly fucked up guys, no. That was a small subset of girls. So when we remember, e.g., Charles Manson getting love letters from women, is that just salience bias? Do we just remember the women who prefer thugs because it sticks in our heads as shocking? And why does the average girl not go for the thugs? Does she not want the thug, or does she just not have enough social self-confidence that she can get the thug? This merits empirical follow-up.
Of course, one thing we do know: Even if it’s only a small subset of women who really are attracted to the very worst men, there is no equal-and-opposite set of women who are attracted to the nicest of men. (LOL, as if.) The female preference distribution is not symmetric around “average guy.” The question is exactly how asymmetric it is.