I’ve nerded out on tons of dating, relationship, pick up artist advice on how to attract women. Some advice said to tease her, some said to ignore her, some said to do it directly, some say to text her only after X number of days, some say you got to be ‘masculine’. When I started out, It was all really confusing to me, I needed a clear model that is replicable across cultures and different demographics of women.
There is a couple of school of thoughts from evolutionary to social psychology, just like all of the social sciences, there’s no one fit all answer. However, what are some principles one can adopt to be attractive to women across all cultures.
Psychological research shows that there’s one universal denominator that women find desirable across all cultures, ethnicities, age groups and socio-economic standing and even in time periods.
The largest common denominator of what attracts women to men is men who are perceived to be of higher status around women.
Note, I used the word perceived, that’s because status is relative, and I’ll get into that later.
This is commonly known in the pick up artist community as being of higher status, or ‘demonstrations of higher value’. People also usually decide to pursue a relationship by weighing the value they see in another person, including qualities such as physical attractiveness, wit, interests and intelligence against their expectations of success in the relationship.
So, how do you become ‘high status’, then? Is it something that’s demonstrated through good looks, money and success?
That’s both true and untrue.
If you’re brought up like me in a conservative Asian culture, you’re probably told a hundred times to think that once you do well in school, get a good job, you’ll automatically be able to kill it when it comes to women. There’s a huge pressure for us Asian males who grow up in a culture that associates monetary achievement with success.
Not to mention that hot women are splashed over and associated with the majority of advertising campaigns. The bouncers at the clubs treat her nice, she gets social opportunities shoved in her face, she gets into clubs for free and everyone loves her… for being pretty. Admit it or not, these cultural narratives influence your confidence with women to a huge degree.
However, if money, looks and success are all it takes to attract women, then why do women all around the world find themselves flocking to the broke musician or the 6 pac-ed athlete?
If attraction is determined by purely monetary assets, then why do many wealth off males in developed cultures can’t lay a date to save their lives and resort to dating sites or prostitution? Why is it that a good portion of the female population in the world make romantic/sexual decisions with pretty average males and are okay with it?
Welcome to the relativity of status.
Yes, looks, money and success are external signals of ‘status’. However, assuming you’re an average male are not born into a privileged family, you can’t rely on looks, money and success.
Wearing a Rolex watch, flaunting material wealth and boasting about it in a developed country will get you eye rolls. You’ll come off as insecure and try hard. However, if you go to less developed cultures, wearing a Rolex watch will be all you need to attract women.
Take a male who has a high paying job. He may be able to come up with silly jokes or one-liners may come off as confident. However, he’s in a job he hates. He does it please his parents, impress girls, or is saying those jokes to get validation from her. It’s not a genuine or authentic expression of his identity.
He’s still an unattractive male at the end of the day.
Whereas, a truly attractive man may not have the best lines, however, he’s authentic in his words and doesn’t try to impress anyone. He lives life on his own values, doesn’t try to impress anyone and is capable of standing up for himself.
He may not be as financially well off as the former. However, he is a leader and the former is a follower. From an evolutionary standpoint, who do you think women are attracted to?
So, how do you be of ‘high status’ to the girl? Is it accumulating money, looks and success? If material objects or social status aren’t the only measurements of your attractiveness to women. Then how can you truly measure how attractive you are to women?
Fortunately, research shows that YOU too can be attractive to women.
Interestingly, the potential for status is equally attractive with status itself.
This means that if your behaviour shows that you have the potential to be rich, famous, successful, it is equally attractive to being rich, famous and success already.
Personal experience backs this up as well. I had one of my best dating life as a broke, underperforming accounting student. Even though I was a broke and not really an academically stellar student. I was passionate about personal growth and trying out a bunch of activities from martial arts, music and travel. This zest for life rippled through all my interactions with women, and they took to it.
From personal experience, women in developed societies are educated and are able to finance their lifestyles independently on men. They aren’t exactly looking for wealth or prestige. I’ve dated women who told me that they can provide for themselves and are not looking for a guy to provide financially for them. Of course, minus the gold diggers.
In modern culture, there’s a there’s a huge value placed on external success such as prestige, jobs and wealth. It’s misconstrued that by racking up job security, cars, wealth, and prestige, it’ll automatically make you attractive to women.
Let’s just say women don’t spend their nights fantasizing of your bank account.
However, I’m not saying that you should not thrive to make money, get good grades or look good. They all help, just like academic success don’t translate directly to career success. However, the discipline to perform in school can be applied to similar skillsets required to attract women.
I’m saying that you shouldn’t be reliant on your monetary success to attract women. You also do need some money to go to social events, use public transport, put yourself in demographics, go out on dates, dress well and have your own place etc.
There’s also research pointing that self worth and social desirability are also factors that influence one’s attractiveness (read: not just your bank account)
On Dark Triads and Pick Up Artist Strategies
Yes, unfortunately, it works. I’m not going to be idealistic and say it doesn’t. There’s also research suggesting that dark triad traits can be helpful in short term mating strategies. These traits are namely narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.
However, just because something works doesn’t mean you need to adopt it. I don’t recommend such a philosophy. You are who you date. Research shows that people self selects similar values in relationships. People with similar values and self-esteem often end up together. If you’re attempting to adopt dark triad ways of behaviour, don’t be surprised if you end up dating psychopathic women.
Looks, houses and cars are all displays of external wealth, prestige and social status. These external displays of status can lead to attraction. However, assuming you’re not born rich, famous or you aren’t there yet, these variables are not directly in your control.
If external variables such as looks, money and social status can’t be controlled, at least immediately, what CAN be controlled then? That’s our behaviour.
How does this play out? This can play out in obvious ways and subtle ways.
If you’re going to go to University and doing a degree because your parents, society or your friends think it’s a good idea too and you secretly hate it, it’s going to come off. If you’re getting that job just because ‘that’s what everybody does’. What does this say about you?
You’re a follower and not a leader. You’re not living a life based on your values and not at all being assertive in your life. You’re more concerned about what others think about you than what you think of yourself.
Secondly, if you’re basing your self esteem on external signals such as making a million dollars, popularity, factors that are out of your control, then you’re not going to be really attractive that’s because your self esteem is going to fluctuate based on these external variables.
For example, a rich banking executive may display external signs of prestige such as monetary success, cars and more. However, he may secretly resent his work and isn’t truly happy or satisfied with his lifestyle. Compare this to an entrepreneur running a small scale business. He may not be extremely rich, however, he bumbles passionately when pursuing his projects.
The first is a follower and the later is a leader.
From an evolutionary standpoint, which one will women be attracted to? The follower or the leader?
When you assert yourself and lead a life based on your values, you dress a certain way because it’s a genuine expression of yourself, you pursue a lifestyle that you enjoy and pursue projects that you feel passionate about. You’re a leader. From an evolutionary standpoint, you’ll be a reliant and dependable father can take care of her offspring. Hence, you’ll be attractive to her.
Note, there’s a difference between being assertive and being over domineering. If you go around not caring about social norms and not giving a fuck anybody, feeling like you need to dominate yourself in any social situations, then you’re not really a ‘true alpha right’ Someone who is truly confident doesn’t need to be right all the time. Being truly confident means you respect the boundaries and ideas of others, but at the same time, you’re not fazed if someone else disagrees with you or rubs you off negatively.
Ultimately, whether you’re born rich and famous or not, you’re still required to adopt attractive behaviours to be successful with women. There’s no way around this.
Now, let’s take at the second universal determinant on what attracts women.
The one other universal determinant of female attraction is the desire to be desired. There is data and new conclusion suggesting that women are turned on by being wanted, by being desired. Personal experience backs this up, your single ability to be sexually assertive with women will determine 80% of your success with women.
If the perception of status leads her to be psychologically aroused, then the desire to be pursued leads her to be sexually aroused.
In laymen terms, the perception of status, psychological arousal, makes her want to be your girlfriend. However, sexual arousal, makes her want to have sex with you right there and then.
Women don’t light candles and lay in bathtubs fantasize about condominiums and cars. They fantasize about far stranger things. This goes against the conventional idea that female attraction is solely tied to ideas and displays of security, investment, and commitment.
This is why Fifty Shades of Grey sold millions of copy all around the world. It’s literally porn for women. Why does a woman get turned off by the man who asks for permission when taking off her clothes, but get turned on by the male who doesn’t hesitate in the bedroom. Why are women reported to have rape fantasies?
So what does all of this mean for you and me?
If you’re afraid to ask her out, afraid to kiss her or afraid to touch her, it’s going to be a turn off for her. It means that your inability to assert yourself socially and sexually is going to turn her off. I can’t tell you the number of times I screwed this aspect up, in tons of micro ways possible.
In many cultures around the world such as the Asian culture, there are cultural narratives to reserve your advances when pursuing a girl. This is a narrative that I told myself for YEARS, SEVERELY deliberating my success with women. It was only when I started behaving in a more dominant manner, that I started getting more results.
So Marcus, what you’re saying is that all I got to do is to show that I’m of ‘higher status’ and tell that I want to have sex with her right there and then? NO. Intentions aren’t covered by the majority of dating and relationship community. That’s because partly intentions are hard to describe and put a finger down to.
It’s NOT about ‘not giving a fuck’ and not caring about social norms and going up to grope her in broad daylight. It’s about pushing the interaction forward in an assertive but respectful manner.
Intentions are the ‘WHY’ behind your behaviour. In life, what motivates your behaviour is equally as important as the behaviour itself. It is also a determinant if your behaviour is truly confident or you’re trying to be confident.
Think about it, you ever hung out with someone who was trying way too hard to be cool? You probably felt turned off and slightly disgusted right? If you’re complimenting a girl just because you think she wants to hear it, it’ll probably turn her off. This is why men in bars who trade alcohol for attention fail miserably night after night. His behaviour or the surface may come off as high status but his intentions are way off.
When in doubt, always check your intentions.
It’s always good to ask yourself:
Is what you say to her authentic, a genuine expression of your desire for her? Or are you saying it because you read it a book somewhere that it is a good idea to?
This is why lines and a lot of the pick up artist literature can be limiting in the long run.
This is why memorizing lines and then mouthing it off like a robot ultimately going to come off as un-confident behaviour. You’re using these lines, routines and strategies because you’re inherently unconfident as a person.
The Primer on Sexual Shame
Having social skills and being extraverted also doesn’t mean that you’re automatically great with women. I was an extravert during my late teens, I still got nowhere with women. In fact, I was really inhibited when moving my interactions to anything sexual. You can be social with everyone, however, if you freak you when it comes to talking to a girl you’re into, then being Mr Popular still isn’t going to get you anywhere. This is why I’ll like to talk a little more about sexual confidence, in particular, sexual shame.
80% of your success is going to be determined by your ability to assert yourself physically and socially with women. The majority of this attracting women this is actually about unlearning behaviours, being more in touch with your psychological maps than actually adding on more ‘attraction’ behaviours.
There’s also an over emphasize on how to get a woman attracted. Secondly, attraction is barely enough, she can be attracted to you, yet her life circumstances (she has a boyfriend) makes it difficult for anything between you and her to happen. The majority of people get together due to other reasons such as proximity (and other social reasons). other than being sexually attracted itself.
Now, back to sexual shame. Sexual shame is rooted in one’s inability to be sexually assertive. Sexual shame is feeling guilty, bad or worthless when expression or asserting your sexual/ emotional desires/ needs. This can be rooted in many factors such as cultural influences, past traumas such as overly strict upbringing or poor relationship with your parents.
This is also something the majority of pick up artist/dating advice community do not talk about. This is why you don’t go up to talk to her. This is you’re afraid to touch her after she has given you a thousand green lights on a date. This is why guys that mouth out: ‘I’m going to kiss you now’, and then attempt to kiss her is a universally unattractive statement.
There is no way about this. Yes, you’ll get rejected. You’ll get rejected a lot. However, if you’re looking to have independence and choice in your dating life, then this you got to get this skillset down.
I was hanging out with a couple of friends who are into ‘pick up’ and they asked me: what do your friends and parents think about this? I simply say I’m honest about it. I tell them that I used to suck at this, I started reading a couple of books and that’s how I got the ball rolling.
Is attracting women something you should be proud of and something you invest in it? Is it something you can tell your parents, sibling, friends and colleague about? From what I observed, a lot of people getting into this dating advice thing (especially in Singapore) don’t see it this way. I boil it down to a couple of reasons:
I’ll let you in on a funny story. Whilst I was coaching last month, I demonstrated a live interaction for him. The interaction went well. Well, because he’s new this, he actually mouthed off to one of the girls:
‘I’m here with Marcus, he’s teaching me how to talk to girls’.
It was a huge facepalm moment. Needless to say, the girls wanted to chase me away.
‘Why are you still talking to us? Why don’t you follow your friend and teach him how to talk to more girls?’
At this point, you may see this as a ‘shit test’. To be honest. Fuck shit tests. What’s the difference between a shit test and a girl genuinely doubting you? In this case, these girls were GENUINELY doubting me.
What could I have said at that moment?
I simply said: ‘Well, he’s my client and I’m teaching him. Don’t you think some guys need help in this area of your life? Would you want a cool, socially intelligent guy talking to you when you’re in the club? I happen to once suck in this area of my life as well, that’s why I had to learn it, just like he did.
The fact that I was unapologetically about my interaction, we continued talking and we exchanged contacts.
Through the years I came across clients that were somehow ashamed of this area of their life. I guess this is the Asian culture. However, fundamentally, of all dating advice is self improvement. This includes getting other areas of your life down. This means your job, maximizing your income, surrounding yourself with friends you liked around you and building self awareness.
You’re also going to have a far better batting average by taking care of 1) how you present yourself 2) what you talk about and your ability to communicate interest in a socially savvy way. This way, every single interaction you have is optimized for success.
This way, you are attracting women from a position of self investment. This means coming from a place of boldness and empathy. This means being proud of the fact that you’re walking up to her and creating an opportunity for both of you. That’s what you want to be gunning for in the long run: long term true confidence.
Boldness balanced out with empathy is an effective way to pursue women.
When you pursue women in an open and authentic manner, it’ll force you to force you to overcome your shame, shape you to become more comfortable with your sexuality. It’ll shape you to become truly confident. This isn’t only about something that you do, it’s now something that you are.
Manson, M. (2017). Models. Sydney, N.S.W.: Macmillan.
Buss, D. M. (n.d.). The Evolution of Desire. Retrieved September 01, 2017, from Academia.Edu: https://www.academia.edu/325352/The_Evolution_of_Desire
Jonason, P. K., LI, N. P., & Buss, D. M. (2010). The Costs and Benefits of the Dark Triad: Implications for Mate Poaching and Mate Retention Tactics. Personality and Individual Differences, 4, 373-378.
Locke, D, K., Horowitz, & M, L. (1990). Satisfaction in interpersonal interactions as a function of similarity in level of dysphoria. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(5), 823-831.
Ph.D., N. S. (2013, August 22). What Do Women Really Want? Retrieved August 29, 2017, from PsychologyToday.Com: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201308/what-do-women-really-want
Yang, W. (2011, July 29). Sex, Lies and Data Mining. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/books/review/a-billion-wicked-thoughts-by-ogi-ogas-and-sai-gaddam-book-review.html?pagewanted=all
Ineichen, B. (1979). The social geography of marriage. In M. Cook & G. Wilson (Eds.), Love and attraction. New York: Pergamon Press.