Readers have lots more to say (lots more than I have to say on the subject, having been happily removed from it for eons):
Your statement that political opinions are fashion statements for women has clarified a few things for me. It has also cleared up why working in women only public sector PR offices - as I do - is like working in a one party state. It is not that they do not get other arguments. It is that they think other arguments are superfluous when placed against the need to fit in. It is social intelligence of a high order – or intellectual corruption depending how you look at it.
I remember becoming aware of this when a co-worker insisted on imposing Fairtrade coffee on the rest of the office. I attempted to get her into an argument about the merits of Fairtrade…bogus economics, unfair on other coffee farmers, tendentious reasoning etc etc. She was just puzzled that anyone would ever want to argue about it. There was a general consensus that it was a good and fashionable thing and the details are irrelevant.
My experience in the undergraduate dating scene, such as it is, has been that Feynman's admonition against paying compliments to women is somewhat outmoded. He was writing at a time when chivalrous traditions in America were still relatively strong, everyone thought that the way to woo and wed was trhough whispering sweet nothings. Not to be melodramatic but today chivalry is dead or at least in a persistent vegetative state. What this means for the women in my social circle is that they almost never receive compliments from men. I noticed this and have found that when I do issue a compliment they are remarkably greatful. Obviously compliments alone don't do it, you have to show enough 'machismo' to be in the game, but their rarity has allowed compliments to regain a certain amount of value today. In sometimes competitive situations you have to operate by means of the law of reverse public opinion, if everyone is trying to attain a goal by one means, try to attain it through a different way. The path will be less crowded.
I have been doing my own research into dating, romance, seduction etc. and have come across a whole lot of material that backs up the be-a-jerk-and-the-women-will-flock-to-you theory. But even though most of my sources site this as a successful strategy, I think they are only half right and, more often than not, lead men to get things totally wrong.
My theory is that the reason bad boys get the girls is not that they are bad per sé, but that they are totally confident and have respect for themselves. I believe this is mostly because they are stupid and unreflective. Since they have no idea how worthless they are, they can act in the world with total self assuredness.
I think it is the confidence and self respect that women are attracted to, whether it is in bad boys, football stars, actors, presidents, tycoons, princes, or whatever.
If you tell an introspective nerd that he needs to be a bad boy to get the girl, Ithe plan will probably blow up in his face. I'd bet most women will easily see through this because all you've done is change what men see (i.e. the physical and tangible) and not what women see (i.e. that which is implied).
This could also be why when looking for a used motorcycle there tend to be a disproportionate number of nearly new Harleys for sale.
That letter from the woman whose single brother was into mountain biking and vintage tractors got me thinking ... in my experience, men who are involved in stereotypically male-oriented hobbies and activities don't seem to have any particular difficulty finding women. These would include things like sports, cars, outdoor recreation, and manual crafts such as woodworking. One could say, as a general rule, that women have no trouble with men involved in activities that don't normally interest women, so long as the activities are conventionally masculine, guy-stuff things.
There's a flip side to this, however. Women have a much harder time accepting men who are involved in interests or activities that appeal mostly to males yet at the same time are perceived as not fully masculine. Examples would include Star Trek, science fiction in general, Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games, certain video games (especially Warcraft and its ilk), Lord of the Rings and other forms of fantasy, and (somewhat paradoxically) military history and especially re-enactments. Given this, it should come as no surprise that the percentage of men who are single and unattached at, for example, a Star Trek convention is almost certainly going to be higher than the single and unattached percentage among a group of NFL season ticket holders.
Over the last million years or so, there has emerged a dichotomy between the Big Man, the leader of the hunting and war parties, and the Nerd, who makes the stone axes for the Big Man to use. I'm not sure that the evolution of female sexual desire has caught up with the fact that the tool-makers can make a lot of money these days.
"The way for women to put themselves more deeply in the guy stream is to take up golf."
My impression is that males are most fanatical about golf from their mid-20s through about age 40 -- i.e., prime marrying years for middle class white guys. Golfers tend to be closer to the Big Man than the Nerd pole, but not so much so that they are too masculine to be housebroken. So, they are good husband prospects, but you seldom see women much shy of menopause taking up golf as a way to put themselves around a lot of potential husbands.
If you have spent any time at these dating websites, some very interesting trends stand out which are a better reflection of who we are and what we think than the PC inflicted world we live in.
For example, white women with children are more likely to state their preference for a white man than white women with no children who usually do not specify the ethnicity in their preferences.
So dating non-white men is considered 'risky behavior' by white women when they have children! Overweight white women are more likely to be open to all ethnicities than average weight white women while really overweight white women usually put down black men or sometimes even hispanic men as their preferred mate. So Black men are more open to over weight white women than white men!
I am no social scientist but some very clear trends emerge from the preference section of these dating websites. Someone with more time needs to do some number crunching and figure out this data. It will be an interesting read.
Good idea. I'm not sure, however, that my wife would be as enthusiastic about my personally doing the research, so I will cede this opportunity to whichever of my readers is interested.