BECOME THE MAN WOMEN WANT
12th of September 2014

Dr. Kristina Durante Interview (Part 2)

Introduction:

In part two of her interview, Dr. Kristina Durante shares more great, actionable insights from her research and her own dating experiences.

Over the remainder of the discussion Tucker and Dr. Durante will tell you how men’s (and women’s) mating preferences shift over time, what that means for guys in terms of mating strategy, and why Dr. Durante is turned on when her husband takes the trash out.

Podcast:


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Key takeaways:

  • One of the difficulties of online dating is that because there’s so much choice, you might second-guess your choices and never be happy. One solution is to date a lot of different women and see what is out there and what sort of women you like before you settle down.
  • Your brain is designed to fool you in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to your mate value. Over time, men and women come to understand their mate value and the traits that they really value in a long-term partner – it’s not always about going for the exciting bad boy.
  • People’s preferences in terms of mating strategy change over time as well. At 25, Tucker wanted nothing more than a lot of short-term hookups, but now that he’s older, he values a long-term relationship and the benefits that that brings more than the excitement and variety of hooking up with lots of girls.
  • There’s a reason that The Bachelor never marries the girl he picks at the end of the show. Suddenly, his mate value has soared and he wants to take advantage of that. Which is perfectly reasonable – but it’s something that will eventually become boring. Even George Clooney is getting married.
  • Not every guy needs to go through the short-term, hooking up stage, and for some guys it’s a lot shorter than for other guys.
  • For a lot of guys, trying to be George Clooney or Bode Miller is so difficult and so high-cost that it’s not worth it, and so they shift their mating strategy towards more long-term relationships.
  • Some guys say “I married her because I knew I wasn’t going to do any better.” While that may not sound like a great reason to marry someone, it actually makes a lot of sense if that person has accurately assessed their mate value and is with someone who loves them and wants to be with them. It’s better than holding out for some idealized partner that you may never actually find.
  • Both men and women can increase their mate values. For men, fame is obviously a great way to do that, but social status is general is attractive, and you can do that within a specific niche.
  • Women’s priorities change over time as well – a married woman like Dr. Durante may be more attracted to a guy exhibiting Good Dad traits like cooking, cleaning the house, etc. than a bad boy-type guy.
  • Great, accomplished guys don’t spend all their time talking to women about how awesome they are. They focus on and are interested in the woman, and they can let the woman find out for themselves about what they’ve done.
  • If a woman finds out about your good qualities from a third party, she’ll be much more likely to trust that information and see it as reliable than if you tell her yourself.
  • This means you need to find ways for her to discover all the cool, interesting things about you without you having to tell her directly. This is why wingmen come in so handy.

Links from this episode:

Dr Kristina Durante’s Bio:

Further reading on Dr. Kristina Durante:

Podcast Audio Transcription:

Kristina:
One thing that we found in the research is that people who are looking at your mating life from the outside can see right through. You know, when we had the women imagine, you know, that sexy cat Bode Miller type of guy with another woman, even when they were ovulating they could see right through him, “No, He is not good.”

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
They’re considering that man for somebody else. But for themselves, that’s sort of when the rose-colored glasses come on. So, what I would encourage people to do is really take to heart what you’re hearing from, I mean, find somebody who you trust. Maybe it’s not somebody in your family who you think has, you know, different interests in mind, or whatever. Maybe it is somebody in your family. You know, to get feedback on, “Here’s what I’m doing,” someone who’s intimate with what you do on a daily basis, like “I goes to bars every night and look for guys,” or “I am on Tinder every night looking for people.” Which, you know, that site for – especially for woman looking for long-term relationships can be kind of a bad thing, but —

Tucker:
You think? You think?

Kristina:
Well, yeah. Isn’t Tinder like the heterosexual version of Grinder, which is the short-term dating site for —

Tucker:
Basically. Like, Tinder, they don’t like to position themselves as that way —

Kristina:
Oh, ok.

Tucker:
But that’s really what it is, it’s a hook-up market.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
Have you heard of Hinge?

Kristina:
No.

Tucker:
Hinge is way better.

Kristina:
Oh.

Tucker:
So Hinge is – just like the hinge of a door, right?

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
Well it’s called that – it’s, you should download the app. I mean, I know you’re married. But just to look at it, you know.

Kristina:
Right, right.

Tucker:
They just opened in Austin – they’re in, like, six or seven major cities – they just opened in Austin.

Kristina:
OK.

Tucker:
And it’s really good. It’s basically Tinder for dating. Right? Like, imagine no randoms and no creepers. And the way they do that is, you have to sign in with Facebook, and then the only people you see are friends of friends. To, like, a first or second degree.

Kristina:
Oh, that’s a great idea.

Tucker:
So you know people in common with every person. So like, like if you came up – we were both single and you came up with me, we would know, like, David Buss in common. Right?

Kristina:
Right. OK.

Tucker:
And so I can email David Buss through the app and say ‘Yo . . .’ —

Kristina:
Yeah. Give me a recommendation.

Tucker:
‘Tell me about Dr. Durante, what’s she like?’ And you can do the same thing about me.

Kristina:
OK, yeah.

Tucker:
So immediately, we’re not randoms.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
You know?

Kristina:
That’s a great idea.

Tucker:
And the person that we know in common can be like “Oh, here’s what I know of her” or whatever. And I think that the app goes to third degree separations. Now, when you might not actually know anyone in common, but it’s like “Oh, we – I know, you know – if I didn’t know David Buss and you know David Buss, and you know Geoff Miller, and they know each other —

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
So there’s like – immediately I’m not a weirdo random.

Kristina:
I love that model, ‘cuz that’s kind of the model that existed before we had all this social media and the, the ability to go online —

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
And find mates.

Tucker:
But with Hinge, you don’t have to, like go to a bunch of parties or figure out some fucking way to get it together. The app does it for you. It’s sort of like the best of both worlds. I think it’s pretty good. So —

Kristina:
Yep. That is good. It’s interesting because – so I’m a consumer researcher, but, but I’ve kind of straddled both areas of psychology and marketing – and if you think about these online dating sites, they’re very much like going shopping. So, the kind of choice behavior that we see when people are presented with a large choice set in the marketplace is, is going to map on, I think, to how we make choices online. Especially when we’re flooded with choice.

Tucker:
No, that’s good, explore that. What does that mean for guys?

Kristina:
So, so – So what does that mean for guys?

Tucker:
Or people, you could just say people. But, but like either men or women, what does that mean?

Kristina:
So, so yeah. So people in general. So I think what, what might happen – and this is what we’re starting to explore, this is what we find when people are making choices – and some of my colleagues, I think, are starting to do this, with looking if it maps on to mating, as well. So think of yourself getting matched with ten guys, or ten girls, or fifteen, or whatever it is. And then you have to make a choice. And you zero in on one that might stand out on one piece of criteria, or whatever. Like, “Oh they’re blonde,” or whatever. And so you choose that person. You go on a date with that person. And once you – if it’s actually just the process of making that choice has some sort of psychological effect – and sort of shifting your thoughts to options that you’ve left on the table. And, you know, “well, this person’s great, but I wonder what someone else would be like?” Because basically there’s an opportunity cost there. You’re leaving other options behind, and you’re aware of all those other options, so therefore that one choice you have – that person you’re on a date with, you’re selling that person short because you’re thinking of all these other options, because it’s kind of like going to a candy store, picking a malted milk ball —

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
Walking out with it and being like —

Tucker:
There’s 30 candies you think you want and you have to buy one.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
And you’re like “What the fuck?”

Kristina:
Right. So, so with, the interesting question is, you know, “Is meeting someone online better, long-term, better than meeting someone organically?” Sort of like you’re in the library and someone comes up to you and picks up your pen. Or notices “Wow that person’s nice,” or you hadn’t noticed that person before. But “Wow,” you know, “I kind of like him.” And there are no other options associated with very overt – like, you’re consciously aware of other options that you’re letting go of. And we find a lot of choice regret in the market place, so it’s really hard for people to make good choice, and once they do, they’re like “Oh, could I have chosen better?”

Tucker:
Well, isn’t the way to solve that to – so, to go with the candy metaphor, you want 30 candies, you have to buy one, why don’t you just try all 30 and see the one or two you like the best? And then buy a bunch of those.

Kristina:
Right. Right.

Tucker:
Isn’t that the – So the dating equivalent of that is, is sort of like what you’re talking about.

Kristina:
It could be.

Tucker:
As a woman, and as a guy – you figure out, it’s kind of different strategies – but you’re figuring out your mate value —

Kristina:
Yeah. Right.

Tucker:
And then, like, if your mate value is, whatever, X, you want to find someone – preferably, if you can do 1.2X you do it.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
But generally, X is going to line up with X, right?

Kristina:
Right, right. It’s sort of how that works.

Tucker:
Exactly. Same thing. You have to try a bunch and figure out where you like.

Kristina:
Yeah. I think, yeah, eventually – so eventually, that might wash out as you, like, seek variety in the market place, it’s going to go away. But just seeing a bunch of choices and options is going to motivate you psychologically to want to seek variety. You don’t want to just seek one person. But eventually, that – I mean, I met my husband online, so I can’t really say, like, “Oh no, that doesn’t . . .” You know, because it, because it does.

Tucker:
Using just like, like Match or just some, some normal dating site?

Kristina:
eHarmony.

Tucker:
Yeah.

Kristina:
Yeah. And so you’re – you’re, you don’t – you’re not given license to look at everybody on eHarmony, but you’re —

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
You get matched.

Tucker:
The ones that they say match.

Kristina:
Yeah. But you still have some choices.

Tucker:
Which is funny. Did you see that OKCupid – Did you read their – they have sort of a data blog on OKCupid?

Kristina:
Oh, oh yeah, I think I’ve heard about that.

Tucker:
And they – you should, it’s pretty good – but they just did a thing where they, they did a study where they matched up – they have an algorithm they think works really well, and realized we’ve never actually tested the inverse. So they matched up a bunch of people who didn’t match up well at all, who according to their algorithm should not have matched.

Kristina:
Yes, yes. OK, I remember hearing about that.

Tucker:
And then, but they told them they were good matches, and they found that the date – the dates and the number of satisfaction of the dates, and the number of relationships were the same as their algorithm – was a little bit less but —

Kristina:
Wow.

Tucker:
Was the same as what their algorithm was predicting!

Kristina:
Yeah, that’s interesting. Then, then it, then it kind of – what that means is that it’s kind of the same as going out to a bar and meeting people.

Tucker:
Right. Except it’s just way easier.

Kristina:
It’s easier.

Tucker:
And less socially anxious.

Kristina:
Yes.

Tucker:
And you’re generally going to pair. That’s why I think online dating is so great – is because it’s a painful process now —

Kristina:
Yes.

Tucker:
But I think that’s a function of the process. And not the idea.

Kristina:
Right. Right.

Tucker:
Once the process is, I mean – think about online dating now versus five years ago.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
In five years they’re going to be even better. I think apps like Hinge are going to make it way better.

Kristina:
Yes.

Tucker:
And then what you’re going to have is people who are able to quickly learn where they fall and what their mate value is, right?

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
And then, ideally, it’s like “OK. Here’s my – let’s call it a natural mate value – whatever, a four.”

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
“I can do – you know, I’m good at these four things – if I can improve these I can go up to a six.” And now it’s like,” ‘How do I find all the sixes in my area?” And I go with the one that I – I date them all, or I go on one date with all of them, or I meet all of them or somehow going to interact with a bunch of them, and then this one I have great chemistry with.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
Or something. You know what I’m saying?

Kristina:
Right. Yeah.

Tucker:
Then, then that way, not only can everyone pair off but pair off with, like, their best possible partner.

Kristina:
Right, right.

Tucker:
Whereas, if you’re relying on serendipity, it’s like —

Kristina:
I know.

Tucker:
Good luck. You know?

Kristina:
Yeah, I know.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
That’s true, yeah. No, I think that the algorithms that they use are going to get more sophisticated. This Hinge sounds like it’s on the right track. But there, you know, there eventually may be a way, where, you know, where, you know, you kind of get thrown into the mass of the dating market, online dating, and you get tons of feedback, and they use that feedback – I mean we’re all giving each other, you know, just like a product. Like “This was good for this and not, not good for that.” And then, you know, you can get through that idea, you know – you’ve traded off, you kind of know what you want. “I know definitely need a six on this, at least a seven here, maybe I can go down to a four here,” and you can find those people.

Tucker:
Right. The problem is most people, the problem is that what has to happen – Our brains are designed, obviously, to fool our, sort of, our conscious fools our conscious, you know this very well.

Kristina:
Right, right.

Tucker:
And that’s why that shit doesn’t work, that’s why the break down happens in that, is that people are, like, like, especially younger women, especially —

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
“Oh, that guy has to have . . .” They’ve got a list that’s, like, a thousand things long.

Kristina:
Oh, right, right.

Tucker:
And it’s like the older they get, the smaller the list gets, until eventually it’s, like, they’re 38 and single, and they’re like, you know, “He just has to be alive and not hitting me.” Or something, right? It’s like, like they – Because a lot of people are delusional about —

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
Not just women.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
Men can absolutely be, too.

Kristina:
Yeah, no. Yes, I totally agree.

Tucker:
They’re delusional about their mate value.

Kristina:
Right. Right, no, I think that’s the case. And I think that, then, that goes back to, just, you know, hopefully – and I don’t think everybody learns – but hopefully learning from the process and eventually coming to terms with figuring out “Who can I attract?” And, not necessarily saying in a mathematical way “Well, I’m going to attract a four at this and this and this . . .”

Tucker:
No.

Kristina:
That’s not what we do.

Tucker:
No.

Kristina:
But it’s just sort of figuring out, you know, for long-term partner, what – what is acceptable to me? You know. And figuring out, you know, the value of – well, kind of back to what we were saying before – the value of somebody who is going to be willing to, you know, be by your side and invest in you, versus – He may not be jumping out the side of helicopters and skiing down a mountain, or —

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
Or you know, whisking you off to Bali all the time, or —

Tucker:
But how important is that, really?

Kristina:
Yeah, how important is that really? And then, so, it might start off being really important, and then realizing, “You know what? I’m happy, I’m a lot happier here, in this space than that space.” You know, on the surface of it, it sounds really exciting, but then, maybe, you know, that’s certainly not the long term, maybe the best life. And even somebody like Bode Miller, talking about mating strategies changing – mating strategies for men and women change. You know, eventually his body can’t do that anymore, and so then he can’t —

Tucker:
He’s married with a kid now, by the way.

Kristina:
Yeah, he’s married with a kid now.

Tucker:
I’m sure you know this, since he’s your crush, right?

Kristina:
He was, yeah. I found – He tried to do the Olympics this recent time, and that’s when I found out that he was married. So that’s an example of, you know, sort of optimizing things when he could, because he was attracting a lot of women and so there were a lot of options there, he could seek a lot of variety. And then that started to not be as available to him, you know, he wasn’t getting as many girls.

Tucker:
Well, maybe not just as available, but also not as appealing.

Kristina:
Not as appealing. Right. So, he, yes —

Tucker:
I mean, you wouldn’t – it, it might not be – my guess is, Bode Miller still has a lot of options.

Kristina:
Right, no. Yes. That’s sort of true.

Tucker:
Right?

Kristina:
Yeah, so it’s not to say “Oh no, his well completely dried up.” But, yeah, you know, and, and also, it may not even be that he was cognitively aware of, you know “Things aren’t going well for me,” because they probably maintain relatively consistently, but yeah, his main, you know, what he was looking for changed. You know, as you get older —

Tucker:
What he wanted out of life.

Kristina:
Yeah, yeah.

Tucker:
I mean, it’s – that’s exactly the path my life went. At 25, I could never imagine a different life than sleeping with as many women as I could. At 35, the idea of having to go out and pick up more women, or deal with more women was like “God, like, more short – another hookup? Really?” Like, I got bored with it. Bored, and frustrated and annoyed with it. But if you’d told me that at 25, I would have fought you. I would have been like, “The idea that that would ever happen to me is ridiculous.” But it did. And it wasn’t that my well dried up, by any stretch – and I’m sure Bode Miller’s well is a little bit deeper than mine – but, like, it’s, it’s just more you change what you want out of life. Which is sort of what you were talking about earlier with —

Kristina:
Right. So that’s an interesting question. I mean, did you – but, so – the well, it’s not like the well is, like, full and then it’s completely empty. I mean, I’m sure that’s true for some people. But don’t you notice, like, some, like, it could be at a conscious level, you’re like, “It’s just not for me anymore.” But, do you think that there’s any – and this is truly a question that I’m posing, I don’t know the answer to it but do you think that it is, sort of, getting an idea of “Wow, you know, I’m this young guy who’s, you know, really popular with the ladies.” Certainly, you know, it doesn’t – in terms of net reproductive success, it doesn’t make sense for that person. It doesn’t make sense for Harry Styles to settle down. But maybe the young example isn’t a good one. Because, take somebody like Harrison Ford, who – most people will know who he is, right?

Tucker:
Of course!

Kristina:
Yeah, well I don’t know.

Tucker:
Han Solo? Who doesn’t know who Han Solo is?

Kristina:
Well, maybe some of my undergraduates, I don’t know. But, I’m sure they do.

Tucker:
I guess.

Kristina:
I’m sure they do. So, he was an actor, struggling actor, carpenter, married —

Tucker:
House painter.

Kristina:
Long term partner —

Tucker:
Painted George Lucas’ house.

Kristina:
Yep, yep. And had a couple of kids, and, you know, just an everyday guy. And then, Stars Wars happens. You know, I think it was, what is – not American – like, there was one other movie he was in before, but – Star Wars was the big thing. And now, the mating market for him changes drastically. He’s always an attractive guy, but now he’s an attractive guy who has all this status and celebrity, and so his mating well shifted. So this is somebody who’s, you know, older, even, so it’s not like, “Oh, men get older and your mate value goes down.” It’s like your mate value is constantly —

Tucker:
Not necessarily. For men it goes up, actually.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
Into your mid-thirties. With Prozac.

Kristina:
I know. It makes me want to cry.

Tucker:
Well, you – men and women have different, sort of, time frames for this —

Kristina:
No, totally.

Tucker:
But then he leaves his wife, is what you were about to say.

Kristina:
But then he leaves his wife.

Tucker:
But wasn’t that later? Didn’t he leave his wife for Calista Flockhart like, 20 years later?

Kristina:
No. There was, it, there was —

Tucker:
Oh no, there was another one. There was —

Kristina:
There was another one, yeah.

Tucker:
Well, the better example – so you should use this example, it’s way better – is The Bachelor. So, like, you know the TV show The Bachelor?

Kristina:
No, yeah, I do.

Tucker:
So, do you realize that, like, literally not one bachelor has ever married the girl he picks at the end of the show?

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
And it’s so funny. Like, I saw this piece a couple years ago, I can’t remember where it was. Some ridiculous, like, Cosmo, or something like that, but it was something even stupider. And they were like – it was an article about why the bachelor never marries the woman he picks. And at no point did they mention the fact that, that afterThe Bachelor goes on TV, every D-list starlet on earth wants to fuck him. Of course he doesn’t want to marry the one he picked!

Kristina:
Right, right. Right.

Tucker:
He’s never been famous before. And fame changes fucking everything.

Kristina:
Everything. Everything.

Tucker:
I explain this to people so much. It’s so hard to understand if you’ve never gone through it. But it doesn’t matter how good you are with women; if you’re not famous, you still have to put in some effort.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
It doesn’t matter how attractive you are, it doesn’t matter how socially skilled you are, it doesn’t matter. You still have to go out and you have to do something.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
When you become famous, it switches the dynamic. And it’s basically like becoming a hot girl.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
Like a beautiful – You know. Like, I’m sure you know.

Kristina:
Yeah. Right.

Tucker:
The world changes when you’re a beautiful woman.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
Like, everything changes. Everything comes to you. Everyone wants to do things for you. The whole dynamic shifts. And becoming a famous dude is like being the hottest girl in the room everywhere you go. And, it’s so fundamentally unlike any sort of male experience. Right. It’s extremely rare for a man to go from not famous to famous and not really dive into that well.

Kristina:
Right, right.

Tucker:
Because the well doesn’t get – it gets – it doesn’t get a little bit deeper, it gets exponentially not just deeper, but also wider.

Kristina:
Wider.

Tucker:
And the well comes to you now.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
Like, you don’t have to go to the well now.

Kristina:
Yes, right.

Tucker:
The water comes into your mouth. That’s the crazy thing. I went through this. And so the reason is, like – yes, yes, you’re right. The example you gave about Harrison Ford is totally right. Or The Bachelor is another perfect example. But, if you’re famous for an extended period of time, you really truly can get fucking tired of it.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
It’s, the metaphor I use – ‘cuz I literally went through this in my life – I got famous enough about 26, 27, where – I mean, I wasn’t world famous or anything, but I had girls coming to me. I basically had more women thrown at me than I could sleep with. That’s, that’s, you know, the dream of every guy. And I spent the next, you know, seven eight years —

Kristina:
You dove into it.

Tucker:
I dove deeply and drank fully from that well.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
But the metaphor I always give is, is like, imagine, being, like, subsistence living. Like, you know, you’re just scratching out a living on the edge of civilization.

Kristina:
Yes.

Tucker:
And then you move into a Chinese buffet.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
And it’s just like, row after row of food —

Kristina:
Row after row. Yeah.

Tucker:
So for the first couple of weeks, you’re just going to eat ‘til you vomit. And then eat more. Right? But – and, and then, for maybe months after, you’re really happy in that buffet. But at some point, you’re going to get fucking sick of gorging yourself and you’re going to get sick of the buffet, and you’re going to want to have something that is satisfying, but not this sort of dearth – or, not dearth – but overabundance of choice and satiety.

Kristina:
Right, right.

Tucker:
And that’s, that’s exactly what happened to me in my life.

Kristina:
Yes.

Tucker:
I might be fooling myself, that’s always on the table when we’re talking about human brains, right? But for me, it felt like I made a very conscious decision to not – it wasn’t like “I’m going to go find a girlfriend,” it was like “I want more out of relationships than short term mating, because those, at some point, those leave you empty.”

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
Fast food tastes awesome. But if you eat fast food all the time, it’s like it leaves you empty. Sort of the same thing.

Kristina:
So, here, I had this thought about a question that really doesn’t have any answer. And so, well I guess the first thing is, that’s kind of like how it is, like when you first get to college, it’s like “Ah, the well is full, and there’s so many new people who don’t know anything about me.” And so, then you go through that process of finding somebody, or, you know that’s – yes. So yeah, we go through that. But I wonder for men. So now I think about George Clooney – so George Clooney’s getting married now. And, that was, like, one of the bigger shockers for me, I was like “Wow.” You know, I always thought I’d have him as the perpetual bachelor, like, how can you really capitalize on this well and just keep, you know, sipping from it every two years, or whatever.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
You know, he was a serial monogamist. But I wonder if, you know, so, turning the clock back a thousand years, we had all these babies running around that were resulting from all the sex these men were having with all these multiple women. And women, I mean, we knew that our behavior was resulting in children —

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
And I wonder if, that the absence of, you know, resulting – now that we have contraception, and you can have this mating strategy and not have a million babies —

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
If like the absence of that is what started switching men’s mating strategy. Like, to the extent that that is the cue, who knows. I don’t know. But it’s just surprising to me ‘cuz I do agree with you, that eventually you’re not going to want to go to the Chinese buffet anymore. You’re not going to, you know, even if – I mean, because it’s not really, it’s like a – every type of food, you know, all different, you can always have something different.

Tucker:
Uh-huh.

Kristina:
Whenever you want. And eventually that becomes tiring for your mating strategies.

Tucker:
Just because it’s tiresome. It’s not even a moral issue, it’s just like “Ugh, again with the snow crab legs?”

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
“Again, with you know, like . . .” It just becomes, it’s one of those things – and that’s the funny thing, is, I’m in a committed relationship right now, committed monogamous relationship – and it’s funny. It’s like, I sort of think of it like fast food. Like, there’s a lot of criticisms with fast food, but you can never say that fast food’s not delicious. That’s the thing that they’ve hacked with fast food, is hitting the salt, fat, sugar combination perfectly.

Kristina:
Right, right.

Tucker:
It’s engineered to actually overpower decision process in our brain and, and make us want to eat it, right?

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
So it is always delicious. But you can know rationally all the critiques of it. And know – I know I’m going to feel awful afterwards, I know that it’s going to hurt my body, I know I don’t like it when I do it, right?

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
But it always tastes delicious. To me, I look at short term mating now, like hookups, the same way. Like, I see a beautiful woman, and I don’t think “Oh, I don’t want to sleep with her.” And then I’m lying to myself. Of course I want to fuck her. I see a hot woman, I’m attracted to her, I’m like, “Yeah, I would absolutely like to have sex with her.” Right? Sort of like I would absolutely like to eat at McDonalds.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
But, like, sex is great with hot girls, or almost any girl. McDonalds is great to eat, but there’s things afterwards I don’t want to deal with, and I value the other things more.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
Right? Like I, like I value, you know – fast food example, I value my health more so I don’t eat fast food. In my relationship, I value the things I get out of a committed, monogamous relationship with my girlfriend, more than I value the fast food. You know?

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
But I think it’s more of a shift of, when you’re a certain age, you have, you have other priorities.

Kristina:
Well, the costs and the benefits are shifting.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
And that’s what I think is happening with George Clooney. Although, ‘cuz his well isn’t drying up, it’s just, now, the benefits, to me, of a long term relationship with someone who’s really valuable. You know, so if you come across a high mate-value mate, and not just, like “She’s the most attractive,” but, but, “I like talking to her,” and, “I like going on vacation with her.” Yeah.

Tucker:
“I can be vulnerable with her.” Yeah, exactly.

Kristina:
All of those things that, you know, the intimate things – so it’s kind of like that package, if you – eventually you might meet that person, and that’s the kind of person who, at that point in George’s life, you know, the benefits of that person and being monogamous with that person, getting married to that person – because that’s probably what she, you know, is a person that requires, like, “That’s what I want.”

Tucker:
No. My girlfriend’s like that too.

Kristina:
And, you know, so it’s like, “OK, I either say ‘Yes, I’m going to do this,’ or, I let that go.” Well, the benefit of that person outweighs –

Tucker:
Outweighs.

Kristina:
The costs of that. And I think as we go through our lives, you know, we’re always kind of – and this is not conscious, going through this cost-benefit and when that shifts and, you know, when that doesn’t. Because we have that ability to say, “Because I love McDonalds’ French fries.” And it’s just like —

Tucker:
Right. They’re ridiculous how good they are.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
It is, it’s preposterous.

Kristina:
It’s horrible! But we always have that ability to, you know, find a work-around to avoid the fries, because the costs are just – we become a lot more aware. And whether we learn, and we do – I think we do, we learn that. We learn that there’s costs there. And we learn for the long term, you know, my long term happiness. I know that there’s costs there.

Tucker:
Well, and the thing is, I – at 26, I know in my twenties I met two or three women – I can think of them, I could actually name at least three of them – that if I met, like last year or two years ago, before I met my girlfriend, I would have dated them and they would have been my girlfriend.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
The girl, there’s one girl I dated at 24 – I was, like, 24, she was 22 – like, take the equivalent and bump it up to two years ago, I would have fucking married that girl. Right? I met her at the wrong time for me.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
It had nothing to do with her.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
I just wasn’t – I needed, wanted, whatever, to sleep with a bunch more women before, like – I had to go through that stage.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
Know what I’m saying? Some guys don’t need to go through that stage. Some guys, that stage is very small, some guys it’s only a few years. For me it was, you know, maybe a decade, but whatever. It can be fooling yourself, and self-deception, but it can also be a change in what you value. And it’s not a moral thing, it’s not any sort of, “Oh, well I have to get married now,” it’s a “I value other things more, so I’m going to take a different strategy to get women who can give me those things.”

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
That I now value more than I used to value. Like companionship, vulnerability, emotional intimacy.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
That’s something you just can’t get out of a short-term relationship.

Kristina:
Yes. Yeah, no, I think so. And I think that, you know, that’s sort of the approximate, you know, cognitions that we have.

Tucker:
Right, right, right.

Kristina:
Certainly. ‘Cuz, you know, if I think about the, so, the guys that were upset that they’re not the bad boy, the costs of trying to do that?

Tucker:
High.

Kristina:
And be that? High. So —

Tucker:
It’s not easy.

Kristina:
And I know that it’s hard, especially for men who want that, and kind of feel like “Why can’t I get all these women? I should be able to have all those women.” And there are some men like that, who, you know, sort of have to learn to adjust, and they’re not recognizing the costs involved. Because there are some men who are on that long term strategy. And it, like, I was saying before, they’re flexible. Like, you know, I think about – you know, of course I’m married, so I say, “My husband’s on that trajectory, of course, he’d never do this. He would never be, you know, be lured in by a huge well,” but I don’t know the answer to that question. But, you know, I think it does really shift, if the costs are way too high. Like, you know, this is kind of how I end out in the mate market, this is my mate value, the costs of my trying to be George Clooney are way too high. I’ll end up with hitting a reproductive dead end. So, therefore – or there’s a higher chance of that – therefore, I’m going to express desires for long term. “I’m not interested in you for one night, because I’ve got to lock down on my mate.” Because we all know people, men, women, who are very monogamous, and “I’m just with this one person and I” —

Tucker:
That’s the way I am. Right.

Kristina:
Yeah. And, you know, and sort of, they kind of set themselves down on that trajectory, I think, because they do kind of realize that the costs are too high for the benefits. And when you’re 24, you, or Harry Styles, or whoever, the benefits of tapping that well are just outrageously high. At that point in time. And then, maybe it is, maybe you just, you know, sputter out at some point in time.

Tucker:
Yeah, like, I think that for most guys in that situation, it’s much more about changing priorities than it is about the well running dry. I think, here’s the thing. I do know a lot of my buddies from law school went through the well-running-dry thing, though.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
A lot of those guys married their wife because – and they said this to me, it blew my mind – “I don’t think I’m going to do any better.” Like, I heard that phrase and I was like that phrase, for whatever reason that blew my mind. Almost like, almost like an ideological principle. So, like, this isn’t the best women you think you could, and, or, this isn’t who you want, it’s just the best you could ever do. But then when you actually think about it, sort of on a biological, societal perspective, it makes total sense why they made that decision.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
And for a lot of them, that was a very good decision.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
Because if you hold out, if you hold out for an idealized partner, it’s not a bad thing, necessarily. But if you are not accurately reflecting – or not accurately understanding your mate value, then you’re going to hit a dead end. Exactly what you said.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
Or, here’s the question though. How much can you change your mate value? Obviously that’s a big, long complicated question.

Kristina:
Yeah. That’s an interesting question.

Tucker:
Right. I think it’s different for men and women.

Kristina:
It might be. So, women can help boost their mate value —

Tucker:
Oh, both can.

Kristina:
Through consumer products, that’s part of my whole area of research. Because our mate value is gauged, as you’ve probably talked about with other people on this show, more strongly by our physical —

Tucker:
Physical appearance.

Kristina:
Visible cues, because, you know, that’s a very reliable signal of fertility, and that, that, in terms of a mate. And youth, and all that kind of stuff. And health. So it’s kind of just, women’s mate value is out there, you can gauge it by just visuals. Men’s mate value isn’t as visually assessed.

Tucker:
Right. Attractiveness is great —

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
But it’s usually not even that important.

Kristina:
Yeah. So I think —

Tucker:
Social status —

Kristina:
Social status —

Tucker:
Is far more important.

Kristina:
I mean, well, men could change it by, you know, finding, you know, some sort of niche where they could become an entrepreneur and start a business, and get money.

Tucker:
Well, because that’s high social status.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
High social status within a small niche is way better than medium social status within a big niche.

Kristina:
Totally.

Tucker:
We explain this to guys all the time.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
No. ‘Be famous’ is always the best thing. But if you can’t be famous because that’s hard, what you can do is have high status in a small niche. Easily.

Kristina:
Yes. So, I mean, we all know who these celebrities are, but when it comes down to it, we all live in different places and a lot of these celebrities don’t live where we live. So that’s like —

Tucker:
Right. How many women can even meet George Clooney?

Kristina:
No, not many, probably. Yeah.

Tucker:
So if you can be the George Clooney of some social group that has 40 woman in it —

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
You can probably sleep with a bunch of them.

Kristina:
Right. Right. I mean, the world is full of people. So, you know —

Tucker:
Uh-huh.

Kristina:
It’s all about, you know, your relative value. And oftentimes, if where you are isn’t working for you, you know, there, it’s kind of like starting college all over.

Tucker:
Find another place.

Kristina:
You could, you can go find another niche and exploit people there.

Tucker:
Another physical place, another social niche.

Kristina:
Yeah.

Tucker:
You can be in multiple social niches at once.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
There’s where you work out, there’s where you do recreation —

Kristina:
Exactly.

Tucker:
There’s where you work. There’s things you do, any number of sort of things.

Kristina:
Any number.

Tucker:
So, let me ask, before we end this, because this has been fantastic. But, I always like to ask – especially someone like you who’s, like, attractive, smart, and then also studies this stuff – what are some things that you see guys doing wrong that they could easily improve? Where you’re, like, “Oh, man, you’d be so much more attractive if you stopped doing this, or you started doing this?” Like, what are some things that immediately come to mind? “I wish guys understood X”?

Kristina:
Well, yeah. So, there’s one that is so powerfully salient in my mind, but it’s very specific to, you know, when you’re married, so —

Tucker:
No, please.

Kristina:
So, maybe guys wouldn’t be interested in this.

Tucker:
Please, please.

Kristina:
So, when I’m away, out of town, or when I’m home – at this point in my life – so I’m married, I have two kids – so, you know, the sort of strategy that I’m following, or at this point in my life is different than, maybe others. But, what would be, at this point in my marriage, more sexually attractive to me, would be if my husband helped more around the house. Which sounds completely boring.

Tucker:
No, I get it.

Kristina:
But, but, you know. And now it’s our joke. He’ll take out the trash and be like, “How sexy is this?” And I’ll go “That’s just so sexy.”

Tucker:
You guys talk about this, right?

Kristina:
Well, because, he’ll say, you know, get me flowers, things – old school things and – you know, it’s just —

Tucker:
Right. You care more about having free time.

Kristina:
I have a six and three-year-old, so yeah.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
So, so when he gives them a bath, that’s hot. You know, and it sounds crazy.

Tucker:
No, it doesn’t. If you’ve ever had to do shit, it makes total sense.

Kristina:
Yeah, yes. So, if, if you’re a man, and you’re, you know, you’re married, and you have kids, and you guys are solving that problem of raising children and keeping up a household, those kind of things – it’s kind of like, that good dad stuff. All of a sudden now, it’s switching, like, “Oh, all of a sudden that is so much more valuable to me.” And it’s such a turn-on to have that help. You know, rather than just him coming home late from work and running to the bedroom.

Tucker:
Right. “Hey honey, I’m ready to fuck.”

Kristina:
Yeah. Exactly.

Tucker:
“Oh, hold on, I have to deal with the kids.”

Kristina:
It’d be like “No.” And so it’s complete down-in-the-gutter, no, I’m not, you know, ready to roll right now.

Tucker:
Well, what would the equivalent be for a single guy, let’s say?

Kristina:
The equivalent of a single guy? So I think, what do women want, you know, so – I don’t know. Even though I ask all these questions in my research.

Tucker:
Well, no, but —

Kristina:
But my thing would be, probably, what a lot of men don’t want to hear, and that’s – you know, it depends. If it’s early in a – So here’s an example. So my husband now, we’re married. When I first met him he was a professional poker player in Las Vegas. He lived in Las Vegas, and he was writing a book.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
And I was actually, you know, a grad student at the time —

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
And so, looking through all these profiles, and you get a headline, and you get one line to sell yourself, and it’s just kind of like, “I want to meet someone,” or whatever, boring, boring, boring. And then I saw, “Hey, there’s this guy, that’s different.” So it was kind of like he was kind of —

Tucker:
A little different.

Kristina:
Bad boy, caddy, a little different.

Tucker:
Sure.

Kristina:
But it’s like, “Here’s this guy that’s living as a professional poker player.” But it, it peaked my interest, and I wrote, you know, he had written me and we started corresponding. And I found it so intoxicating that this is what he did. So he was, like, high stakes poker. I would fly out to Vegas, and I would sit behind him and, you know, that kind of dominant behavior was really attractive. It’s all the, all the charismatic stuff that – and, and, intelligence too, because –

Tucker:
You have to be smart to play poker.

Kristina:
Yeah. And that was very attractive. And so it started getting serious, and that’s kind of where I, where I felt myself, “Well, you know, if we’re going to be . . .”

Tucker:
Here’s all the partner and dad issues.

Kristina:
Yes, exactly. Now, all of a sudden – So that was a real turn-on, sexual turn-on for me in the beginning. And the, and then it started to change as we were getting serious. And, you know, I started to think, well, you know, more of those long term qualities that I was looking for. Like, “wait a minute, we can’t always be flying out to Vegas.”

Tucker:
Yeah, right. This isn’t the life.

Kristina:
We can’t have a family in Vegas, you don’t do this —

Tucker:
This isn’t the life, right.

Kristina:
It changed. So I guess my answer would be, you know, women do, do, are attracted to that, to that confidence and I know that’s kind of backtracking for all the men who aren’t confident.

Tucker:
Right. Uh-huh.

Kristina:
You know. But there are ways, you know, for that to come – it’s not just confidence, it’s not just charisma – it’s, you know, it’s looking someone in the eye.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
And having a conversation. Not talking about yourself the whole time.

Tucker:
No, right.

Kristina:
Because women don’t like that. If you really watch someone, like if you meet somebody like a George Clooney or somebody like a John Mayer, what you notice is that when they’re talking to women, they’re not talking about how great they are, and all that they have accomplished. They —

Tucker:
They focus on the person.

Kristina:
Even if this is a woman, if the woman is a cocktail waitress, they will lean in and they will want to know about that woman. And as a woman that’s intoxicating. You know, ‘cuz we do spend a lot of time listening to how great guys are. ‘Cuz the default is, “I’m a guy, I’m going to show her how great I am because women like things like, I’m dominant . . .”

Tucker:
But it’s always sexier if you find out on your own.

Kristina:
“I’m a banker, blah, blah, blah.” Yes, it always is. When we trust those other sources —

Tucker:
Right. When the guy has done things that are cool, or you think are cool, or nice or interesting, or whatever. Even though you probably don’t give a shit about poker. But oh, this is something that’s, like, high status.

Kristina:
Right.

Tucker:
And he doesn’t talk about it, you figure it out. Or it’s more, like, part of who he is, but he never throws it in your face, he asks you more about you —

Kristina:
Right. Right.

Tucker:
And tries to understand you.

Kristina:
Yeah. It’s kind of like, you know, one of the principles of influence, right, is, is establishing trust, establishing authority. So, when you see these speakers come in, like, you know, whoever it is, motivational speakers, they’re always introduced. Because you trust that introduction person. They give all of the credentials: this person is a four-star general, this person has a net worth of a billion dollars, this person . . . And then, that is credible.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
Because if someone just walks out and says, “Hey. Let me tell you how great I am. I have my own business, it’s a billion dollars, I just got contacted by Google, I have this, this, and this . . .”

Tucker:
You’re like, “Alright, schmoe.”

Kristina:
Then it’s just like, “I don’t trust this person, I’m shutting down right now.” And, you know that might be, there might be some women who are attracted to that. But I think that, you know, if you’re really swinging for the fences —

Tucker:
Right, right, right.

Kristina:
It’s going to be, to the point where that could be found out, you know. So, just, you know, buying a woman a drink and wanting to know about her. So there’s a movie where Ryan Gosling plays a character —

Tucker:
Crazy, Sexy Love?

Kristina:
Yes, where’s he’s trying to teach Steve Carrel – well, there’s some truth to that. That strategy.

Tucker:
Um-hm.

Kristina:
And I know, it’s kind of like, you know, avoiding the French fries, finding a work-around for that, men have to find a work-around for not talking about themselves so much.

Tucker:
Right.

Kristina:
And it’s hard. I mean, my husband will come home and start talking about himself, you know – and so I still have to remind him, push —

Tucker:
Totally different though, because you guys are sharing issues with each other.

Kristina:
Yeah, I know, that is. That is.

Tucker:
Right?

Kristina:
So, I think, but I think that there is always that fighting for women wanting to be heard – and, as a woman, it’s usually, the men kind of want to demonstrate things. I think that is true, and, to the extent that men really want to spend time and hear about the women. And that really is —

Tucker:
So the lesson should be – be really effective, do great things, but let the woman find out, sort of naturally.

Kristina:
Have your friend come in first, “I’d like to introduce you to…”

Tucker:
Oh no, absolutely. That’s why wingmen work so well.

Kristina:
Let me tell you, “You don’t know this but this guy is important.”

Tucker:
Ah, he’s selling himself short, let me tell you how good this guy is.

Kristina:
Yes, exactly. Yeah. It’s beautiful, and that’s what we teach you in business school, too, we talk about how you can demonstrate your expertise in a way that is going to immediately say, “I trust this information.” And what the research has shown, is that it doesn’t even matter if it is your wing man, or if it’s your sports agent, or if it’s your mother – somebody who has a vested interested, just the fact that it’s not you.

Tucker:
Right, I mean, it’s social proof.

Kristina:
Social proof. Yeah.

Tucker:
Just the fact that you have someone else saying anything about you.

Kristina:
Right, right. Yeah.

Tucker:
That’s fantastic advice. We normally do this about 40 minutes, but this has been two hours. But it’s been amazing.

Kristina:
Has it really?

Tucker:
For real. You know, you get into good conversation when it goes fast. The only reason I’m stopping is because I have another call in ten minutes that I have to do.

Kristina:
OK, cool. It flew by. I didn’t even realize.

Tucker:
Thank you, thank you very much.

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