A woman goes to the husband store…

An old but valuable joke: A woman goes to the Husband Store on Fifth Avenue and, on the first floor, there are hundreds of hot guys to choose from. “This is great,” she says to the salesman, “I can pick any of these to be my husband?” He says yes, and the guys are all good looking. But she says, “These guys are great, but what else do you have?” “Follow me,” the salesman says.

On the second floor, the guys are all good looking AND rich. The woman is thrilled. “Wow, good looking and rich. Jackpot.” She inspects the men, likes them, but she wants to see the third floor. Now, they’re good looking, rich, AND funny. The woman says she’s pretty much there. “But is he good with kids?” she asks. The salesman brings her to the fourth floor, where the guys are also good with kids.

This keeps going. Good with pets. Highly educated. Nice to her mother. Won’t try to sleep with her hotter sister. Finally, she gets to the 12th floor, and she’s in the room full of guys with numerous superlative qualities. But she’s still not quite there yet. Has she really found her soulmate? She steps out of the elevator on the 13th floor, and it’s the roof. She walks to the edge. “There are no guys up here? What’s going on? Where is everyone?” She peers behind her and sees the elevator door closing, with the salesman disappearing behind it. There’s a gust of wind, and she falls off the top of the building; this isn’t real life, so she splats on the ground but picks herself up, unharmed. She goes to the door of the Husband Store, which is now dark, with a “Closed” sign on the door; she pounds on it, and the salesman opens it ajar to say, “Sorry, ma’am, but, as you can see, we’re closed.” “Ma’am?” the woman says, “I’m not that old, and also…” But the door is closed and she hears the lock slam shut.

(Another version of this joke has the 13th floor being a room full of cats.)

In the male version, a guy goes in the wife store and the first floor is full of hot chicks, the second is hot chicks who want to f**k the guy a lot, the third floor is hot chicks into the same stuff he is (reading, fitness, functional programming languages), and the fourth floor is chicks who are also nice. Once the guy gets to the fourth floor, the guy picks a woman, and he goes, as he’s walking out, “By the way, salesman, what’s on the fifth floor?” And the salesman goes, “I don’t know, no guy’s ever gone up to the fifth floor.”

Women tend to stay on the shelf too long. Guys only need a couple floors. Every hot chick has a dozen beta males eager to wife her up.

An old joke re-told by my buddy, who hasn’t yet chosen a pickup seduction handle, but who needs to, because he’s a fount of stories, wisdom, and laughs in emails and private group chats. I’ve been cajoling and nagging him to share his insights for years, and one hopes he’ll eventually do so. If you like this post, try the free book

U.S. politics is defined by the structure of the American constitution:

Political science geekery ahead… if you want actionable stuff about the game, though, we have that too… but politics is also a form of game theory, like the game itself.

The U.S. looks insane to the rest of the world because of some apparently minor political structures that over-power rural states and under-power urban ones. If you read The Federalist Papers (don’t worry, you won’t), you’ll see the concern about balancing powers among states expressed repeatedly. A quick history lesson: the American Revolutionary War (or “The war of the ungrateful colonists” depending on where you are) lasted from 1775 – 1783, and at the end of if the U.S. states created a joint and ineffective government guided by a document called the Articles of Confederation, which didn’t allow for sufficient coordination among the states; that ineffective document led to the creation of a Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the ensuing document was eventually ratified by the states in 1789.

Way back then, smaller states were worried about being bullied by larger states, and, to prevent that from happening, and to prevent the usurpation of the presidency by a tyrant, the U.S. Senate was designed to give each state two senators, irrespective of the state’s size, and the Electoral College was created to put a barrier between the possibly tyrannous will of the people and the power of the presidency.

The world had very little experience with democracy back then, and the states’s representatives were more like start-up founders than CEOs implementing a mature business process. They had no idea what the f**k they were doing and did the best they could with the limited experience they had at the time. Those features may have seemed good in the agrarian period when they were created, but since then the Electoral College has shifted from “stop tyrants if necessary” to “vote according to the vote of the people of a given state.” In modern presidential elections, that means only a handful of states matter, and the votes in those states count for far more than the votes of other states. At the same time, the ratio of the population of the smallest states and largest states has grown enormously. Montana has just a million people in it, and Idaho has just 1.7 million, while California has 40 million. Yet Idaho and Montana between them have double the Senate representation California does. A fairer, alternate Senate system might have two senators per state, and distribute those senators by state lines whenever possible, but also attempt to use a non-partisan commission to distribute senators. In a system like that, Idaho and Montana might have two senators, but California, Texas, and New York might have 3 – 4 senators (getting us closer to the “one person, one vote” ideal).

Instead, we have a system in which some rural votes are far more valuable than other rural votes. It’s also proven to be internationally true that, the more urban an area is, the more it votes towards the left. But the U.S. has a peculiar system that disproportionately empowers rural areas, and that’s had big international consequences over the last 20 years.

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