Most guys don’t care much about getting laid, I hypothesize

THE GAME comes out in 2005, MYSTERY METHOD a year later. A bunch of pickup blogs show up then too, almost all abandoned since, and sometimes descending into madness and/or conspiracy theories along the way. Few guys have any desire to write about pickup and chicks for more than a few years, and the ones who do are often, or usually, unbalanced, or nuts in some other way(s).[1] It’s important to have coolness and status before trying to evangelize or teach, yet the most prominent and least anonymous guys appear to have neither. Most are the kind of guys I’d want to avoid, not the kind who I’d want to get a drink and chat with. 

A few years ago (2015) the book MATE: BECOME THE MAN WOMEN WANT, by Geoffrey Miller and Tucker Max, also came out, but it didn’t seem to make a splash. In a major occasion on par with the moon landing, Red Quest as a blog is founded in 2017, its initiation commemorated by a massive, 10-ten granite ziggurat next to the Washington Monument in DC. Red Quest’s readership peak is 2019, as of this writing, although you never know, maybe some feminist tweeters will come along to denounce me, and thus drive up traffic.[2] Most people who find their way here from twitter or reddit, belong to twitter or reddit, prefer corporate media, and aren’t much interested in other venues. They’ve been captured by the big-tech borg. Some people complain about centralization of power among big tech companies, but the vast majority of people’s actions show preference for big centralized platforms, not for decentralized, censorship-resistant efforts (describing what seems to be true is not the same as approving of a thing that seems to be true).

What’s going on? Knowledge about how to do better with chicks is available, but few guys seems to avail themselves of it. Chicks themselves are not out there talking about the excessive number of socially smooth, interesting, and cool guys who are seducing them. If anything, chicks are complaining about how cold it is to meet guys through online dating, and how they wish guys would approach them in real life. Chicks are lonely, bored, and understimulated, by their own admission. Memes about funny cats go viral, ideas about how to get laid, don’t. I post that most guys just don’t care that much about getting laid, and even the ones who somewhat care, don’t care or care much about figuring out how to do so effectively. The information itself has been around for at least a decade and a half, probably longer, and it’s still very niche.

Some guys still seem to think that doing better with chicks is simply impossible: and yet the guys who practice the game demonstrate otherwise. Or maybe most guys really aren’t picky, and are okay dating a few points below themselves. They perceive the mountain to be too high, and go back to the Shire of video games. I know a coach who says his clients think a same-day lay (SDL) is impossible, because it’s so far out from their idea of what’s possible.

Overall, it’s not like men are better at getting laid via some other avenue. Men seem to be getting laid less than they did a few years back, which is also consistent with the “most guys don’t care much” thesis. You’ve probably seen the graphs showing that the number of guys in their teens / 20s who have gone without sex in the last year has something like doubled, or maybe a bit more, from like 8% to like 22%, in the last ten to twelve years:

Number of video gamers and herbivores seems to be going up, which is I guess kind of nice from a “competition” level, but existentially depressing from a societal and cultural level. Maybe one day humanity goes extinct cause the video games are too good. Maybe the effort and subtlety needed to master the art of seduction is too great. Most guys have returned to an oral-first culture, and thus the extensive written corpus about how to get laid lies fallow, for want of readers. In a similar human puzzle, Why aren’t there more computer science majors? It’s probably the most lucrative undergrad degree, and highly impactful on the average person’s life (the average person spends an unbelievable number of hours per day on the phone, which is another way of saying, “Doing things CS majors produce”). Lots of people go to college, get worthless degrees, and spend the next decade plus paying back “student” loans that can’t be discharged via normal means like bankruptcy. Weird! I hypothesize most people aren’t smart enough to do computer science degrees but maybe there are other reasons. Most guys are smart enough to implement the rudimentary parts of game, however, they just don’t. Maybe guys are just lazy?

Some of the guys who download and read the book probably don’t do anything with its ideas right away, but a planted seed may sprout years down the line. Could be that “time” is a key element for ideas to spread. But ideas from THE GAME and such have had a long time to spread, and seem not to have. Video game ideas, by the contrast, appeal to many millions.

There seemed to be a lot of energy in the pickup and seduction worlds in the ’00s and early ’10s. Where’d it go? Guys in their 20s don’t seem to be writing about seduction and dating experiences (if I’m missing guys who are, let me know). Maybe, today, being in good shape, a male high 7, and having okay pictures of a guy looking buff and hiking or whatever, is enough to snare high 6s and some 7s off dating apps, so the drama of cold approach and bar seduction isn’t needed. The process is a little smoother, its terrifying peaks and valleys and storms smoothed into a neater, more manicured path. Meanwhile the guys playing video games and getting fat are mostly out of the game altogether, or get women consistent with their lives. A guy who gets frustrated enough with his underperforming sex life will find his way to the knowledge he needs, while a guy who is fundamentally content with underperformance, won’t. 

It may also be that most guys interested in and writing about seduction are fundamentally unappealing or crazy, a point elaborated in, “The most stridently asserted opinions will disappear down the memory hole.”  I look at most of the guys writing about player blogs and they do not seem cool to me, and many of them say and tweet crazy things that will repel normal people, or reasonable people. So it’s hard to separate the crazy opinions on various topics from the reasonable, but slightly unconventional, views on how sex and dating actually work.  

Maybe this sort of thing will always be of interest to only a small group, for some other reason I’m not aware of. Maybe I’ve not plumbed the psychology of man sufficiently to discern it. I think I’d imagined that Red Quest as a blog would be more enticing: more efficient, and often effective, ways of getting copiously laid. Even if most guys aren’t interested in undertaking these practices, I imagined they’d be interested in or curious about them. They’re powerful tools, however unusual.

I don’t have much of a conclusion. Whatever makes ideas popular, does not appear to apply to guys figuring out how to get laid.


[1]The last year and a half have been revealing. I’ve speculated in private that I think this universe is self-limiting, because the accurate and useful ideas about, for example, picking up chicks, are often swirled together with a bunch of other off-putting, inaccurate, and widely disliked ideas: a bunch of anti-social people discussing social skills.
[2]If you know any, direct them here, so they can denounce. Ten years ago, it seemed like pickup artists and such were regularly denounced online and in the media, and now, no one does. It seems the culture wars have moved on. By the way, we lost, at least in terms of numbers and attention.

Why you can’t trust drug claims, and what that says about the ability to trust in general

This is an even nerdier piece than usual, and it’s fundamentally about trust, verification, and science… try reading the Peaches saga for something fun, sexy, and actionable…

Game is an open field: it has few definite answers and doing it poorly has few short-term consequences. Drug development is different: it has more definite answers, although the answers happen amid a lot of noise, and has many important short and long-term consequences. Politics is closer to game than to drug development, but it’s not a perfect overlap, since failing or succeeding at game has a strong impact on a given individual… while most political opinions are meant to signal tribal allegiance, and being wrong has little impact on the individual. In the last three+ months there have been lots of dumb claims about how hydroxychloroquine “obviously” works.. and yet we’re still looking for that evidence, which seems less and less likely to exist. The more interesting preliminary commentary was out there, best summed by Derek Lowe… April 6, March 31, April 16… no bullshit and written by someone who knows a lot about drug development… his comments about preliminary studies with small sample sizes are accurate… the early studies showed that hydroxychloroquine didn’t seem to badly hurt anyone (good), but we have law of small numbers problems. The smaller the sample size, the easier it is to find a significant effect through chance. An early and bogus French study was done by a guy who is, to put it uncharitably, frequently full of shit. Yet a lot of guys writing in the game / red pill / right wing worlds went for him. Why?

Those guys often don’t know anything about the field and, in addition, they don’t know what they don’t know. Lots of drugs look promising in vitro or in murine/ferret/etc. models, then fail in humans. Evaluating data from coronavirus is tricky, because most people do recover. It’s possible to give 20 patients the drug and then see most of them recover, because they were at the stage in the disease where they were poised for recovery anyway. These kinds of problems are how and why double-blind trials showed up in the first place, to distinguish cause from effect. These are also the kinds of problems that lead many people to falsely believe in all kinds of cures for colds and flus that were on the verge of clearing up anyway. By now, we know that a large and real trial from the UK with 11,000 patients found no benefit to hydroxychloroquine. France has also suspended trials like this one. A trial of 821 patients didn’t show hydroxychloroquine acts as a prophylactic. Yes, there was a study published in Lancet that was withdrawn due to phony data: but other data is consistent with the “no benefit” hypothesis. In other words, the guys you read on Twitter proclaiming that hydroxychloroquine is an easy win were all wrong, and they were wrong in predictable ways.

A little knowledge is dangerous and most of the people on Twitter know zero about statistics or the history of drug development… they make the same mistakes homeopathy people do. Their conspiratorial mindset flares up. They have no skin in the game: they’ve heard of Nassim Taleb but failed to internalize his lessons. If their recommendations turn out to be correct, they announce how right they were. If their recommendations turn out to be false, they say nothing, or cite the one “maybe” weasel word they used, somewhere. If you can’t trust them on something that has known correct answers, how can you trust them on things that don’t?

Meanwhile, people with skin in the game know that most drugs fail. Twitter has its uses but taking drug recommendations from it is nuts. Then there are Twitter exchanges like this one:

Stedman may know something about men and women (a field with limited opportunities for falsification… he’s also posted some goofy shit like this), but he doesn’t know shit about complex systems or about drugs, and he too doesn’t know it. He doesn’t want to learn, either. People have been trying to get Vitamin C to do something for decades (seriously, Linus Pauling initially made up the idea that vitamin C helps the immune system). Chaga is fine but it’s also been relentlessly studied. He’s a sort of Gweneth Paltrow and Goop for the red pill set: mostly harmless but also overconfident and making unbacked medical claims, relying on the ignorance of his followers. But if he’s wrong about something that can be falsified… what else is he wrong about? He’s also a conspiracy theory guy. And he has a large enough platform that he should try harder not to mislead his readers.

On Twitter, the ignorant are often loud and the most knowledgable often quiet. The ignorant have nothing at stake. Sometimes they are right, too, which is gratifying, when it happens. But what general lessons should we draw?

People are susceptible to showmen. Arguably the game is about becoming a better showman (Mystery was literally a showman: a magician). But the natural world doesn’t care about the show, like the human world does. It’s very reality-based. When dealing with women, some men fail to realize that the show can be more important than the reality, under current social and cultural conditions. When dealing with the human body as a system, the show doesn’t matter… the reality does.

There is a problem, I forget the formal name of it, in which people who have expertise or intelligence in one field, think they know all fields. Their knowledge or expertise doesn’t transfer, though. It’s limited. That’s one way people who are otherwise smart, make stupid mistakes. Stedman doesn’t even realize that what he’s pitching has a long history… he’s making a common mistake but doesn’t know it, and, when I pointed out that he’s wrong, he ignored and muted me. Fine. In terms of the drug world, politics makes people stupid and, oddly, people who know that then accuse others of it, not realizing that they themselves are subject to the challenge.

Meanwhile, here is yet one more piece, an older one, about HCQ not working in late-stage patients, which matches doctors’s anecdotal evidence. That HCQ wasn’t working well in moderate and severe cases became apparent by late March/early April, yet we still saw many on Twitter touting its efficacy… how many docs are writing to game, red pill, or far-right twitter… probably not a lot.

There is an interesting question in why otherwise smart people fall for myths, conspiracy theories, etc. I don’t think the whole answer is there, at the link, and I don’t have a full answer, but self-deception seems to be super common. Stedman falls for it. So do many others.

A gear switch. In game: it’s very tempting to lie to yourself first, but guys do well if they do one of two things: lie to themselves to the point of incredible, delusional confidence (“frame” if you prefer that term), OR be relentlessly honest with themselves about their strengths and especially weaknesses. The human propensity to lie to ourselves seems strong, and in medicine this seems like a particularly powerful tendency. We like to see patterns in randomness. Small parts of humanity have spent the last few centuries trying to learn how not to lie to ourselves. The internet does lots of good things, but it also allows the ignorant to be amplify their ignorance, without realizing their own ignorance.

One logical counter is to say, “Experts have their own problems,” and that’s completely true: but experts being wrong is notable and intersting, while non-experts being wrong is the norm, and many of them don’t even know what they don’t know.

It’s possible that the thousands of people wrongly amplifying their messages will learn something from this… but more likely they won’t. We have centuries of knowledge about how to test drugs already, and one more example of being wrong probably won’t convince anyone, anymore than the homeopathic holdouts can be convinced. Ignorance is the human condition, knowledge the exception. Game is one kind of knowledge, but it’s an imprecise kind. You can be great at game, or a great showman, and know nothing about scientific or technical fields.

There are problems with how to test drugs and other health treatments in the United States… but the noisiest people haven’t been repeating them, mostly. Their knowledge level doesn’t extend that far, and something closer to the truth, doesn’t make it to tweets.

We probably won’t learn much from the hydroxychloroquine debacle, since the people falling for it mostly aren’t or weren’t doctors prescribing medications. Everything I wrote above about statistics and drug development is well-known to people who work in drug development or have learned about drug development and how it works. Everything I wrote above about those topics will probably never be known to people with no skin in the game, no knowledge of statistics, and no downside to being wrong. They were wrong yesterday and will be confidently wrong about something else tomorrow.

Knowing what is really true is hard, which is why it took humans so long to build the civilization we have today. Most of our existence has been spent in superstitious blather. That tradition continues in homeopathy, anti-vaxers, and Twitter.

Most people who think they have secret knowledge are deluding themselves.

In some fields, there is a definitively right answer and a definitively wrong answer. When guys wander into these fields and say things that are likely wrong, or at least unwise, there is a tendency, maybe unfair, to denigrate their knowledge in all other fields.

It’s good to know when you’re part of a show and when you’re part of the study of reality… and a lot of guys online don’t distinguish between the two. Trusting noisy Twitter has its dangers.

Update, January 2021, see The most stridently asserted opinions will disappear down the memory hole

Immigration, identity, knowledge part 2

Warning: as with “Get past your identity and look at the data,” “The stink of poly-ticks is high in this post, which has little to do with actual game, so you may want to skip it.” You’ve been warned. You should read “Ms. Slav story updates: Enter new girl Peaches” instead.

There are few fields with larger gaps between the “Twitter world” and the “knowlede world” than immigration. Most people who live in the latter don’t do Twitter as “Twitter natives” do. Among historians, anti-immigration sentiment is almost entirely absent. Why? For one thing, the data show that “Immigrants are doing a great job of becoming Americans.” Plus, historians know that the arguments against immigrants have always stayed the same and have always been wrong. Like Henry Cabot Lodge’s famous speech 1896 speech, “The Problem of Immigration”:

other races of totally different race origin, with whom the English-speaking people have never hitherto been assimilated or brought in contact, have suddenly begun to immigrate to the United States in large numbers. Russians, Hungarians, Poles, Bohemians, Italians, Greeks, and even Asiatics, whose immigration to America was almost unknown 20 years ago, have during the last 20 years poured in in steadily increasing numbers, until now they nearly equal the immigration of those races kindred by whom the United States has hitherto been built up and the American people formed.

In other words, we gotta kick out those foreigners who are different than us. Today, of course, their descendents are making the same anti-immigration arguments that are common on Twitter. Lodge also says:

It is not necessary to enter into a discussion of the economic side of the general policy of restricting immigration. In this direction the argument is unanswerable. If we have any regard for the welfare, the wages, or the standard life of American workingmen, we should take immediate steps to restrict foreign immigration. There is no danger, at present to all events, to our workingmen from the coming of skilled mechanics or trained and educated men with a settled occupation or pursuit, for immigration of this class will never seek to lower the American standard of life and wages

It is necessary; immigration improves American lives and immigrants don’t compete for the jobs Americans do. Funny stories like, “Farmers Finding Few Americans Willing To Do Jobs Immigrants Do” are common. I have friends in the restaurant biz. Try hiring native-born Americans to be dishwashers. The places in the United States with the highest immigration rates also have the strongest economies.

No one arguing against immigration is highly knowledgable about history, or the way their arguments have been used for the last one to two hundred years, and they’ve been wrong the whole time. And anti-immigrant rhetoric is rarely if ever supported by (real) research in peer-reviewed journals. For example, The welfare impact of global migration in OECD countries finds that immigration improves GDP and “recent migration flows have been beneficial for 69% of the non-migrant OECD population, and for 83% of non-migrant citizens of the 22 richest OECD countries.”

We are seeing immigrants create new jobs. Immigration does not create crime and if anything immigrants have lower crime rates, on average, than native-born persons. So why do these memes persist? It seems that humans like to sort ourselves into tribes and it’s fun to create out-groups, and immigrants make handy out groups. Normal people don’t go trolling through the literature and instead form their views on single-hit sensationalist stories and the like. Most people also don’t think about history or their own families’s histories, which, in the United States, always includes immigration somewhere (unless a person is Native American).

The United States is not an ethno-state. It is a set of ideas and ideals. It is also a machine for taking in disparate people and turning their children into Americans (some of whom will in turn adopt anti-immigrant rhetoric). We should be happy this process works and works well. We should also be attentive to the kind of evidence cited by anti-immigrant types. Yes, there are sensationalistic stories about individual bad acts. Just as there are… sensationalistic stories about individual bad acts by people born in the United States. But the anti-immigrant rhetoric is almost totally absent among historians and economists. We should be thinking about why that is. Yes, it’s possible that there’s a giant conspiracy theory. Or, more likely, knowing history makes people chill out about the supposed foreign invasion.

In good news, American support for immigration is at all-time high. I doubt this is because of a newfound love for and knowledge of history, but it is nice.

Overall, Western Civilization is a hardy weed and normal people around the world want TV, convenient food, and hot sex.

I don’t expect to change hearts and minds because almost no one thinks statistically or attempts to systematically review what data exist.