Skin in the game, marriage, The Red Pill

The new Nassim Nicholas Taleb book Skin in the Game explains why men shouldn’t marry. Men have a lot of skin in the marriage game and women have none.

Taleb gives many examples of asymmetric risk and situations where people have skin in the game. His knowledge of skin in the game comes from his own experiences. “In an option, one person (the buyer of the option), contractually has the upside (future gains), the other (the seller) has a liability for the downside (future losses), for a pre-agreed price. Just as in an insurance contract, where risk is transferred for a fee. Any meaningful disruption of such symmetry—with transfer of liabilities—invariably leads to an explosive situation, as we saw with the economic risis of 2008.”

You know where most women have no skin in the game, leading to an explosive situation?

Marriage.

When a woman gets and stays married for some period of time, she has access to half her husband’s financial resources (assuming that he makes more than her). If the couple buy property together, she will likely keep the property in a divorce. If they have children, in most states, she will get automatic custody, along with child support, possibly until the child is 22.

A woman who marries gets a ton of optionality.

What does the man get?

Sex? No. That’s at the woman’s discretion. And guys are much better off learning game than attempting to mate in captivity. Most women’s erotic attraction to a man declines rapidly with cohabitation.

Money? Maybe, if he marries a woman who is a substantially higher earner than him, but that is rare.

Fidelity? If he is lucky, maybe. He may not be so lucky. You cannot negotiate genuine desire.

Love? He doesn’t need a contract with the state to verify his love.

Now you know why older women may be eager to marry: she is financially incented to.

The man doesn’t get money, unless his wife makes more than he does. But if she quits or down-shifts her job, that will go away.

Taleb says, “asymmetry in risk bearing leads to imbalances and, potentially, to systemic ruin.” When a man marries, he is risking systemic ruin for… what? I have no idea and have never seen a good answer to this question.

Taleb says, “The notion of belief without sacrifice, which is tangible proof, is new in history.” Marriage is, for a woman, “belief without sacrifice.” She sacrifices nothing and asks the man to potentially sacrifice everything, up to and including his freedom. If the man cannot pay child support, he will likely be jailed, thus ensuring that he will lose his job and fall further behind. This is called “being a deadbeat dad.”

He may have children, but the woman and the medical system will resist DNA testing to make sure they are his (I had mine tested: they are mine).

Marriage can only barely, kind of make sense for a man who marries a woman who makes substantially more money than he does. Most women, of course, do not want to marry a man who makes less than they do, so that is a rare situation.

Women wonder why guys aren’t eager to get married without asking themselves, “What does the guy get out of marriage?” When marriage was the only legitimate way to access sex, and when the entire social structure revolved around marriage, marriage made sense. That period ended with the Sexual Revolution, the baby boomers, and second-wave feminism. Smart men today do not marry, which is all asymmetric risk for them. The woman has no skin in the game and the man has a lot. Don’t fall for this trap. Read Taleb. Read more real books and less Internet.

Don’t trust me either. Go talk to your divorced friends, or your dad’s divorced friends. Their testimony is ten times more valuable than what I have to say. Follow the links to Real World Divorce. Today, men who are foolish enough to sign up for marriage without understanding the legal risk they are taking almost deserve what they get. They are being grifted by women and by the larger society. Don’t be a mark. Be Fat Tony (but not fat).

“I hate him:” Don’t get married unless you’re ready for hate

The best arguments for men not marrying actually come from women. Like “The Married Mom Who Fantasizes About the School Principal,” who writes:

Then my husband flips over, grunting beside me. The disturbance yanks me out of my fantasy. He farts. Buzzkill. I hate him.

In case you didn’t know, she hates him:

He’s snoring. He’s loud and gross. He smells bad. I hate him. I do. We’ve been married for nearly 20 years. I constantly think about moving into one of our rental properties, but I don’t for various, legitimate reasons. That, and I’m good at faking it.

Did you know that two decades of working and supporting a woman can lead her to hate you? If you don’t, then you’ve probably not met very many divorced guys.

Marriage today is a high-risk, low-reward proposition. Now, I don’t know the guy in question, so many he is weak guy who naturally generates a woman’s scorn. But maybe he’s a fine guy and his wife is just tired of mating in captivity (a book written by a woman, by the way).

Clearly, this woman is heading towards divorce or at the very least having affairs. When she does divorce her husband, she’ll like get half his assets, a large portion of his earnings going forward, and child support.

Why would a man agree to this state of affairs?

If he’s smart, he won’t.

Another golden article, “I Love My Boyfriend, But I Can’t Stop Cheating!“, is a warning to men about marriage. If she’s a good cheater, you might not know that she’s cheating for a very long time, if ever.

I have a post coming on the new Nassim Taleb book Skin in the Game, and marriage is the ultimate institution in which women have no skin in the game and men have all the skin in the game. The only way to win such a game is not to play.

Guys may wonder why a blog that’s primarily about game discusses marriage so much. The reason is easy: I’m old enough to see lots of my friends and colleagues divorcing. Divorce is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a man. Almost all the divorces are initiated by the wives, one way or another. Every marriage starts out full of hope.

In my view, men are better off with consensual non-monogamy in which they have a share in the action than the non-consensual kind that is currently common. This isn’t a popular view, but more men should at least consider it. The only difference between many women and the “I Love My Boyfriend, But I Can’t Stop Cheating!” is that the “Can’t Stop Cheating” woman is slightly more honest with herself.

The quiet ones

Earlier this week a ridiculously quiet, reticent woman who I know only slightly declined my invitation to get a drink, and while I’m obviously fine with that, she reminded me of “Emma,” a woman I slept with a couple years ago.

I knew Emma slightly through work (she didn’t work with me or for me and our connection was sufficiently distant for me pursing her to be not a problem). Emma was pretty, a high six or maybe low seven, and very quiet. “Very quiet” is an understatement. She barely spoke or moved.

When I first talked to her, I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember how she barely reacted at all. To the extent that I asked questions, she’d answer in one word or sentence answers. Somehow I got her number and got her to agree to get a drink with me.

On the first date she was very quiet and nervous. But she complied with pretty much everything I asked. We went to a first bar, a second bar, then back to my apartment. I probably said 90 to 95% of the spoken words.

In reading the game literature, you’ll learn that most guys will have to lead the conversation most of the time in most ways at the start of a relationship, from the moment the open happens. A guy often knows the seduction is going well when the woman invests more in the conversation than he does. The conversational dynamic flips, as the woman’s investment increases. This doesn’t always happen (and often doesn’t), but it’s a positive sign when it does.

That didn’t happen with Emma. She never warmed. I’ve been out with a handful of girls like her, but none as extreme as her. Those girls were all actually pretty easy to game. I have a theory about why: because they’re dysfunctionally anti-social, almost no guy will pursue them, because from the outside they seem cold. But they may not be cold. They may just be socially dysfunctional.

The first night we kissed and I got her down to her underwear, but she refused to go further. I think she got herself off with her own fingers, or maybe she faked it. I don’t know or, now, care. But she did come over for dinner as a second date and we had sex.

In bed she wasn’t great, but by then I’d learned to be sufficiently dominant that I didn’t care much about “her” skill level, which could be a post of its own. I read stories about guys who complain about women who just starfish. While starfishing is lame, a dominant guy should have a gameplan for how to deal with it and how to show the woman where to go, when to go there, how to move there, and what to do when she’s there. Use a collar, restraints, rope, etc. as needed. If she’s bad at sex, chances are she’ll like being told what to do even more than most chicks do.

I did that with Emma and while an active, engaged girl who likes to express her sexuality is obviously better than an inept one, I can deal with inept and still have a pretty good time.

Unfortunately, after four or five sessions, Emma finally began to open up about her social anxiety. This was right about the time she was also getting the hang of sex. She’d only had sex with two guys, a one-night stand in college and a boyfriend, and both had apparently been shit in bed. We all know that girls lie about sex constantly, but I believed her because she was so inept.

When the dam broke, I heard way more about Emma than I wanted to. I heard about her anxiety, her fear, her family (also full of nutjobs). A little before that happened, I asked her what she liked about me and she could only shrug and say I was “cute.” That actually means, I think, that I was the only guy who bothered persevering through her silences.

Apart from her giving me her number and showing up, she did absolutely nothing to help things along. She didn’t suggest things. I practically ordered drinks for her.

Realistically, I should’ve just let her be in the first place, but she was pretty and not hard to get in bed (for me). Once there, she did what I wanted to do, and I should’ve cut her off earlier than I did. But like many men I can be weak in the face of pussy, and she got severe oneitis for me. A guy who is sufficiently high status, or sufficiently high status in the eyes of a few women, gets to experience what the typical woman does, and it’s revealing.

When Emma told me that she loved me after like six weeks of sex, I knew I had to break things off. I stupidly tried to ease back towards casual sex, which made her chase me even more. So the breakup was not very clean, although I technically did nothing wrong, except fuck a chick in a way that she’d never been fucked before, which pretty much made her head explode. This isn’t a brag about how I’m so great in bed; I don’t think I am, necessarily, but I’m technically good and know how to pay attention to women, like most guys probably don’t.

But let’s focus on the positive point for guys in game instead of the crazed love behavior she later exhibited: it’s sometimes better to persevere in the face of indifference than it is to give up. Chicks give up easily because they’re chicks. If a guy wants to make things happen, he can sometimes do so just by continuing, in a socially aware way, even in the face of female ambivalence. Emma kept complying up to sex, despite her apparent indifference.

Quiet girls want sex too. They’re just incapable of showing it a lot of the time. They wait for some guy to advance them into it. Be that guy.

Value & idiots

Another day, another great post from Nash, on “cool guy” game verus “real value” and how there are no (or few, in my view) hacks in game. I’m not going to talk about all the ways it’s right, because you can read it for yourself. I would qualify a few things.

Nash’s basic thesis is correct: the vast majority of guys need to focus on building value. If they don’t, they’ll likely fail, or at the very least achieve nothing like they should succeed. Game is about building value and then learning to deliver that value.

I love this community, but I would also like to help clean it up… brush some of the intellectual garbage off our streets.

That’s a fantastic, noble sentiment, but I also don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s not going to happen because lots of people want something for nothing. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have adjustable rate mortgages, credit cards that aren’t paid off monthly, car loans that people can’t afford, pyramid schemes, lotteries, boiler room operations, astrology, and the innumerable other parasites out there that exist because people are stupid and want something for nothing. There will always be a market for “this one weird trick to help you pick up girls” or “top ten things REAL ALPHAS do and you should too.” Let’s fantasize about a trick instead of learning the only sustainable trick is hard fucking work (for most guys).

It’s also hard to clean up the community because most people are just stupid, or cognitively deficient, or whatever you want to call it.

She knows me very well, and can actually see all my real value (I used to be her boss, she has seen me “kill people” in business, she has seen my work drive real results in terms of big dollars, she has seen other girls chase me, she has seen my house, my art, all of it… this is real VALUE).

Genuinely stupid people generally can’t accomplish that. Stupid people (and even people of average intelligence) can’t write two- or three-thousand word, complex, Nash-level posts on the finer aspects of game.

Stupid people can tweet, post one-liners to Reddit, and leave stupid comments that miss the point. Stupid people aren’t going to read Nash’s two thousand words. They’re going to skip to YouTube videos. The people consuming garbage aren’t going to “get” Nash because they don’t have the attention span to read and understand him.

Even you, the reader of this, right now, probably doesn’t have the attention span. I know because I’ve written a lot about books. Without having done a lot of reading, I wouldn’t be able to write this blog. Most book mentions include an Amazon referral tag.

Out of curiosity, I check out how many guys buy the book.

Very few. It’s true that they might buy it from somewhere else, but I doubt it. Those who don’t buy it, can’t read it. Even those who do buy it probably don’t read it. I think more guys in the community, or at the edges of the community, are just stupid, than most of us like to admit.

Krauser has written about “no-hopers” in his books. There are more no-hopers out there. In my personal life, I’ve run into many of them, of both genders. “Why doesn’t she like me?” “Why won’t Mr. Hot Guy keep me around after sex?” Well, start by quitting sugar, going to the gym, and developing real hobbies. “But that’s hard!” “I know.”

Without getting into detail, I’ll say that I’ve done some teaching, recruiting, training, and mentoring. The mental capabilities of the average person, let alone the below-average person, are just much lower than the average high-IQ person thinks.

We all lives in bubbles. Including Nash and including me. One cool thing about game is that it gets us out of our bubbles. Somewhat. Unless a guy, like Nash, has a lot of exposure to the general public, he may be underestimating just how weak the average guy really is. The average guy doesn’t have the cognitive processing skills to read and comprehend Nash’s posts.

I’d argue 90% of the guys that say that… totally give a fuck. They really, really give a fuck. I know I give a fuck… I do. And saying “I give zero fucks” is a way of pretending. It’s completely transparent, and no one is convinced at all. It’s more lame “cool guy game” from guys that aren’t actually cool. And the community pushes this CONSTANTLY.

That’s true, but I think sometimes those guys who say “Don’t give a fuck” are actually saying, “Strive towards outcome independence, but realize that the average outcome will be failure.” It’s hard, almost paradoxical, to understand that the median and mode outcomes of game will be zero, while also realizing that it’s important to attempt. Attempting to achieve “outcome independence” is another way of saying, “Try not to give a fuck about any particular person.”

You should give a fuck, of course, about doing your best and building your value. But you should also realize that if you care deeply about every interaction, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Overwhelming disappointment that may crush you.

Being “chill” and “nonchalant” in the face of shit tests is also good.

It’s vital to give a fuck overall while also letting the dead leads go.

It’s hard to do. Sometimes it’s still a little bit hard for me.

Game is hard because, like many domains of human life, opposites can be simultaneously true. Give a fuck about improvement. Give a fuck about value. Give a fuck about doing the work. Give a fuck about doing the best you can in the moment. Don’t give a fuck about the outcome, if possible.

Don’t take advice from tweets. 140 or 240 characters is not enough for understanding.

“No Ring, No Baby: How Marriage Trends Impact Fertility”

No Ring, No Baby: How Marriage Trends Impact Fertility” isn’t the usual shit, and in it the author Lyman Stone asks, “So why has marriage declined?” The author gives reasons like “financial need, personal unpreparedness, and lack of a suitable partner. Those last two factors speak to the role of culture.” Then there’s a bunch about culture.

Nowhere is a link to Real World Divorce, which explains, in exhaustive detail, why smart guys don’t marry. Marriage is an extremely high-risk activity for men, and it carries very little commensurate reward. If you want real-world examples, just go talk to pretty much any guy who has ever divorced. My friends have reach the “divorce” stage of their lives. It’s ugly. Many are basically financially fucked for the rest of their lives, or at least for the next two decades.

For guys, it can make sense to marry a woman who makes a lot more money than he does. Most women, however, don’t want to do that.

Our legal system has helped destroy marriage as much as the culture system Lyman Stone cites. Maybe we should have divorce reform.

Lyman Stone seems like he hasn’t been over-conditioned by feminism, but he still isn’t willing to look at one key factor behind the fall of marriage: the incentives facing men.

“You cannot negotiate genuine desire.”

You cannot negotiate genuine desire” is one of the most important concepts in game and life. The actual title of Rollo’s post is “Transactional vs. validation sex,” but “You cannot negotiate genuine desire.” Pretty much any guy who’s been in a long-term relationship will relate to the point.

Guys who haven’t been in a long-term relationship should be working on their game rather than reading about the distant future, but once game starts working it’s a good idea to know what the future holds.

 

“My husband pressured me into sex for years” #DontGetMarried

There is a vile article on Vox.com, “My husband pressured me into sex for years. #MeToo must include sexual assault in marriage,” which I’m not going to link but you can find if you must hate-read it. You get the basic idea from the headline.

The article dovetails nicely with Rollo Tomassi’s point, “You cannot negotiate genuine desire.” Any man who attempts to negotiate genuine desire to destined to fail, as the writer’s husband should realize. But like most guys he’s probably never been taught as much, and he probably thought that marriage is a contract or system involving reciprocal obligations and duties.

In modern marriages, that isn’t true. A marriage is a one-sided contract in which a man serves at the whims of a woman. Smart guys realize that marriage is a terrible deal and refuse to enter it. Guys like the one married to the anonymous Vox writer get shat on in public.

There is a concept in engineering called “The Five Whys” that are designed to get beneath the apparent surface of a problem. In the Vox worldview, the problem is the man’s behavior towards his wife. And to be fair, his behavior might be very bad (though we can’t tell from the article). But the deepest root cause of this situation is biology. A couple levels up from that, however, is marriage. Take this guy out of the marriage contract and he’d likely realize “his” woman isn’t into him and he needs to find a woman who is. That’s at least three levels down from the Vox article, however. You’ll never find an honest exploration of male-female relationships in Vox.

Strangely, you will find many honest explorations in other female-centric publications like New York Magazine. But those explorations won’t be framed the way I frame them.

In a Tweet, Vox’s editor Ezra Klein called it a “searing read.” It is searing, but not for the reasons he thinks. It’s a searing indictment of marriage as an institution and that guy for being dumb enough to fall for it.

I propose men start a hashtag, #DontGetMarried, pointing out the reasons why smart guys don’t contort themselves into the horrible position that is marriage.