BECOME THE MAN WOMEN WANT
20th of October 2014

How To Be Attractive To Women, Pt. 3: The Tender Defender (The Nice Guy vs. The Asshole)

Introduction:

Should you be a nice guy or an asshole? This is the eternal question, and not only does the conventional wisdom (be the nice guy) get it wrong, but so does the contrarian position (just be an asshole). In this episode, Tucker and Geoff explain the science behind nice guy vs. asshole, what you should do, what women actually respond to, and how to do it in your life.

Podcast:


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Key takeaways:

  • Agreeableness is one of the big-five personality traits. High agreeableness means you’re tender, caring, empathic. You really get into other people’s heads. You’re very caring, altruistic, generous. Low agreeableness would be aggressive, assertive, and selfish. You don’t want to be at either extreme, but you also don’t want to be stuck in the middle. You want to be adaptable to the situation – you have to be super agreeable interacting with a woman or her children or people who deserve kindness, but you need to be as assertive as necessary if there’s a threat. That is being a tender defender
  • When a woman says “Why can’t I just find a nice guy?”, she means kind. A guy who has empathy, a guy who understands her at least a little bit. It doesn’t mean being a pushover and doing everything for her. It doesn’t mean being passive, kind is actually active. It means you pay attention to what she’s interested in and wants, and you remember it.
  • Women care about kindness because it’s a true, honest signal that helps women see that men are going to be good lovers, good partners, and good dads.
  • Some other attractive forms of agreeableness include magnanimous leadership and being protective.
  • An unattractive form of agreeableness is being submissive. You don’t want to be conflict-avoidant. That being said, you don’t want to seek out conflict either.
  • Being indecisive is not being kind. When taking a girl on a date, don’t ask her where to go. Suggest a place, and if she doesn’t like it, she will say so. Be assertive and make decisions, and if she gives feedback that suggests she doesn’t like the decision, come up with an alternative.
  • Women find confidence, assertiveness, and decisiveness very attractive. Even dominance in certain situations is an attractive trait. What’s not attractive is over-controlling, domineering asshole behavior.
  • You want to be very confident, very capable, and very skilled, and you want to take the lead except in times where the woman wants to offer her opinion or wants to take the lead or has a skillset that is better than yours.
  • We are going to do a full podcast about confidence, but one quick takeaway: if you are not confident and want to be confident, the number one thing is demonstrated performance. So if you want to feel confident in something, start doing it small and get better and you’ll feel more confident at it.
  • The wrong way to be assertive is starting fights. When we say “tender defender”, tender is the kind part, and defender is the assertive part. And defender does not mean aggressor. It means if there’s a threat, you’ll stand up to the threat and protect the women and yourself. A threat does not have to be a physical threat, it could also be a social threat or a reputational threat. The goal is to make sure the woman always feels safe.
  • You want to avoid being irritable, having a bad temper, and losing control. That’s not assertive, that’s not confident. That’s undercutting a woman’s whole sense of safety. You need to have emotional self-control. You want to avoid pseudo-alpha behavior. If you feel the need to project your aggressiveness or power or confidence onto other people, that means you aren’t confident. You need to be quietly confident.
  • Most of the time, the “defender” part of tender defender is social, verbal, or intellectual.

Links from this episode

Podcast Audio Transcription:

Tucker:
So, in this episode, this is gonna be, I think, a really good episode for a lot of guys, ‘cause we’re gonna talk about the psychological traits of agreeableness and aggressiveness, which sounds kind of boring, right? It’s not. This is the science behind whether you should act like a nice guy or an asshole. Most guys fuck this up. Guys either think, “Oh, I’m gonna be a nice guy ‘cause everyone tells me to do that,” and then in their mind, they code nice guy to a pussy or a doormat and women aren’t attracted to them and treat them like shit and they get really bitter and angry and cynical, right? Which you shouldn’t do, but it happens. Or guys will read my books and think, “Oh, being an asshole works! I’m gonna get fucking hammered and lay under a table and scream curses at people and then girls will just walk up and suck my dick,” which they think happens to me but doesn’t. But young guys will take one strategy or the other. This episode of the podcast, we’re going to explain the science behind nice guy vs. asshole, what you should do, what women like, and how to do it. So, Dr. Miller. Let’s talk about agreeableness vs. aggressiveness. What are these traits and why do women care?

Geoff:
So, remember the last episode, we talked about conscientiousness, one of the so-called “big five” personality traits. Well, another one of the big five is agreeableness, right? So, high agreeableness means you’re tender, caring, empathic. You really get into other people’s heads. You’re very caring, altruistic, generous. The opposite, low agreeableness, would be, like, aggressive, assertive, selfish, kind of the asshole. Now, this is really tricky because for certain traits, like IQ, higher is better. Right? Higher IQ is always better.

Tucker:
Right. Money, always better.

Geoff:
Right. For conscientiousness, generally high conscientiousness is better than being an impulsive, addictive slacker, but for agreeable vs. assertive, it gets really tricky. You don’t want to be either extreme, but you also don’t want to be stuck in the middle where you’re sort of, “Eh, meh.” Kind of empathic but kind of disagreeable, that doesn’t work either. What we’re gonna emphasize again and again today is you have to be adaptable. You have to be super agreeable if you’re interacting with a woman herself, typically, or her children or your own children or people who deserve kindness. But, if the chips are down and there’s a threat – the woman’s under threat, you’re under threat, and it’s a real physical threat, then you have to be as assertive as necessary to defend her, defend yourself.

Tucker:
Right. And when you say threat, you are definitely talking about violent, physical threats, but not necessarily. There’s plenty of things that act as threats in a modern society that threat encompasses a lot of things. That’s an academic term, but it’s basically any sort of stressor. How do you react? Alright, so I want to talk about…We know that, generally, the top three traits that women find attractive in men – intelligence, kindness, humor. Let’s talk about kindness, because kindness and agreeableness; guys, think of them as the same thing, alright? Being kind. Why do women care? First off, it doesn’t mean being a pussy. We’re gonna talk about that in a second, but first of all, why do women care about kindness? What does that matter?

Geoff:
Well, the fundamental thing is we keep talking about what value do you add to a woman’s life? Kindness is basically, you can take her perspective and figure out what value does she need added right now? What are her needs and desires, right? If you can do that, you can both add value to her life, but also it means if you ever have kids with her, she’ll instinctively understand, oh, you’re going to be kind to the kid.

Tucker:
Let me even tie this directly into specific sort of scenarios in your life. I’m sure you’ve heard women all the time, like, “Why can’t I just find a nice guy?” And you’re probably sitting there, saying, “Well, I’m a nice guy and you don’t like me!” When she says a nice guy, she means kind. A guy who has empathy, a guy who understands her at least a little bit. It doesn’t mean you’re, like, opening doors for her and acting like an English gentleman, like some fucking weirdo. It means you care about things, you care about her, you are generally polite, you are generally a pleasant emotionally engaged person. That’s agreeableness, kindness. Just think about anyone who’s easy to be around, okay? When a woman says, “Why can’t I just find a nice guy?” she doesn’t mean, “Why can’t I just find a fucking pussy?”

Geoff:
Yeah. And a lot of guys think kind equals passive. No, kind is actually active. It means you pay attention to what she’s interested in and wants, you remember it. If she mentions offhandedly, “Oh, I really kind of like this object,” you remember for her birthday and you get it on time and you give it to her. You anticipate her needs actively.

Tucker:
So, here’s actually a great example. The girl I’m dating now, I go to some place to get my hair cut – I don’t know, Finley’s, whatever – and they shave the part of my neck with a straight razor, and they use this specific type of aftershave on my neck, right? I don’t give a shit. Aftershave’s aftershave, right? She loved the smell of that aftershave, and mentioned it to me. She was like, “Oh, god, I love it when you come back from getting your hair cut.” She’s like, “I love smelling your neck. It’s amazing,” right? And I don’t know what the smell is. I don’t give a fuck, right? So, I thought, alright. The next time I went and got my hair cut, I bought a bottle of it and brought it home and now I use that aftershave, you know, when I shave my face as opposed to whatever I was using before, which is whatever I bought at Whole Foods, right? And she, like…it wasn’t even a big thing to me. I was like, “Alright, yeah.” I wasn’t thinking, “Man, I’m gonna be so kind by doing this!” It was just I care about her. I care about what she thinks. Granted, this is my girlfriend. It’s not some whore I met in a bar or whatever, so she matters a lot. And she saw it and she was, like…I didn’t even make a big deal out of it. I just put it in the bathroom, and she was so impressed and so, like…I don’t know. She was very lovey after. She was just very excited about that. And I didn’t think about it until afterwards, I was like, “Oh, yeah. I guess that really does show a high level of conscientiousness and kindness.”

Geoff:
Yeah. And Tucker, the key thing there is precisely because you didn’t give a shit about it, it meant more.

Tucker:
Right. I was only doing it for her.

Geoff:
Right. And so, she notices. Women notice, particularly, things that you do that aren’t directly in your interest and are in their interest. That’s real altruism.

Tucker:
Right. That’s real kindness.

Geoff:
And it’s a really hard-to-fake indicator, ‘because it’s something that’s truly selfish or sociopathic or narcissistic guys won’t do, right? Everything that they do is conspicuously in their own interest. Sometimes that overlaps with a woman’s interest, but usually not, so the really powerful indicator of kindness is genuine altruism, when you’re doing something that goes above and beyond, and it really makes her happy and it’s not really about you.

Tucker:
Right. We’ve said this before. We’re gonna talk about this a lot going forward. When we talk about where to meet women, another great reason to volunteer at charity things that you like – like, if you like dogs, go volunteer at a dog shelter – ‘cause you’re gonna meet a lot of women there and they’re gonna see you taking care of dogs. That’s kindness. That’s conscientiousness. Etc. Just really quick, ‘because I want to make sure everyone understands this is all grounded in very clear science. The women, on an unconscious level, why do women care about kindness? Because basically, it’s a true, honest signal that helps women see that men are going to be good lovers, good partners, good dads. It actually helps predict success in life. Is that right for all these things?

Geoff:
So, bear in mind, a lot of female attraction is about these good dad indicators, even women who don’t consciously want to have a baby. Right? In prehistory, the women who selected guys who would become good dads had more surviving offspring, so an absolutely crucial thing is predict, “Once this guy has babies with me, how is he going to treat the babies?”

Tucker:
“And me!” Both.

Geoff:
“And me. If I’m pregnant, if I’m breastfeeding, if I can’t move around as much, if I can’t get food, is he going to look after me and care for me? If I get sick, right, and I’m out of circulation, can he take up the slack?” These are absolutely crucial things, and millions of prehistoric babies literally died because their dads didn’t take good care of them.

Tucker:
Right. So, let’s talk about…We’re on agreeableness. We’ll get to sort of assholishness later, and kindness. What are the attractive forms of agreeableness? Things that women are very attracted to? We talked about empathic ability. Can you understand other people’s emotions and react appropriately, which we’ve talked about for a lot of things, but it very much applies here. Altruism, especially to vulnerable and deserving. Like I said, volunteering at a dog shelter or caring about people who are weak and vulnerable is always a good thing. There’s a reason that so many guys donate to charities.

Geoff:
Yeah. You’re responding to cues of distress, right? With an emotion. Not just an abstract, “Well, utilitarian philosophy says I can donate this money and it will increase your—“ No. Emotional response to cues of distress that psychopaths don’t have, that’s what we’re pointing to.

Tucker:
Exactly. Exactly. So, let’s keep going. We’re going to go back to psychopaths in a second. Magnanimous leadership. So, when you are in charge of a group and you are a good leader, you’re fair, you’re just, you care about other people, that actually shows both agreeableness and aggressiveness, or it shows how you can be a nice guy and sort of confident, because you’re in charge, but you’re not a domineering shithead. You actually care about other people. Protectiveness is another form of kindness, right? When anyone’s ever in a stressful situation. And look, in modern America, there aren’t a lot of fights to break up, okay? I’m talking more like any sort of situation where there’s some sort of conflict or stress, if you can be protective and caring in that situation, that’s gonna show your kindness, right? Now, this is very important. Let’s talk about unattractive forms of agreeableness, right? So, when does kindness bleed into cowardice or pussyishness or whatever word you want to use? Being a doormat, right? What are some things? Submissiveness is a big one, right? So, what are some ways that guys act submissive?

Geoff:
Basically, submissiveness is doing the easy thing. So, true kindness is active and assertive and confident and it often involves making hard choices, right? Doing things that are kind of, like, socially awkward, like protecting a woman on a date from a guy who’s kind of giving her a hard time often means standing up to him in order to be kind to her. Right? So, submissiveness is a cue that you’re not willing to make those hard choices, if you’re conflict-avoidant. Women can often test this in their own arguments with you, so being kind doesn’t mean you let a woman win every argument, because that means if you’re arguing with somebody else, you’re gonna act the same way with them.

Tucker:
If you’re deferential on everything – look, some things don’t matter. Again, guys, don’t take this as a black and white issue, right? God forbid, don’t be like, “They said don’t let a woman win an argument, so I’m gonna fucking argue to the death over every opinion she has.” That’s being a fucking asshole, so like Dr. Miller said at the very beginning, understand that this is a continuum, right? Good kindness in an argument – let’s say you’re a Republican and she’s a Democrat, whatever. Good kindness in that discussion is recognizing the validity of her opinion. She might have all her facts wrong. She might be totally wrong, but you’re recognizing that she’s a valid person with her own legitimate opinion, subjective as it is. That’s kind, right? That’s kind and conscientious. Submissive is, like, “Oh, yeah. You’re probably right. I’m just gonna throw all my beliefs out because you said something, so whatever it takes to make you happy.” That’s submissive and that’s extremely unattractive.

Geoff:
And it shows no integrity, i.e. she might know when you’re with your friends, you might adopt a completely different political position just because it’s convenient, right?

Tucker:
Exactly.

Geoff:
And you don’t stand by your beliefs.

Tucker:
If you are seriously conflict avoidant to the point where you become submissive, that’s never ever a good thing. So, part of this, you need to learn how to have a conversation where you can assert your beliefs, make reasonable arguments for them, but then also leave ground for other people to have conflicting beliefs where it’s like, “Okay, I’m going to believe x. I stand by it, but I don’t think because you believe y, you’re an idiot.” That’s how you find the balance between the two things. Here’s a good one. Indecisiveness. Like, that’s extremely unattractive to women, and also indicates not just kindness but the lack of the ability to make a decision.

Geoff:
Yeah. So, a lot of guys here think, “Oh. The Mister Nice Guy thing to do on a first date is ask her, ‘Oh, where do you want to go? What do you want to eat?’” And that’s not being kind. Particularly a hardworking college student woman or professional woman, we talked about how willpower gets exhausted, your ability to make choices gets exhausted. If it’s the end of the day, she does not want to have to choose where you go out on a date. The kind thing is for you to make a choice and go, “Is that okay with you?” What a relief that is to her, right? Finally, a guy who can be assertive and understands her need in that moment is not to just make yet another goddamn choice at the end of the day.

Tucker:
Right. Especially if she doesn’t really care that much, right? And it is very much a test for you in a lot of ways. Don’t think that we’re trying to say that we need to go back to some weird fifties patriarchy where you make all the decisions. That’s ridiculous. Not what we’re saying. The opposite of what we’re saying. But here’s a great way, in the situation that Dr. Miller described, to be both kind and assertive, right? So, let’s say you’re going to dinner, trying to pick a place. So, you call her and say – or text her, I guess, if you’re under thirty. You text her and say, “Hey. I’m thinking we go to Uchi or whatever, we go to a sushi place. 7:00 Tuesday. Does that work for you?” Right? And if it doesn’t, here’s the deal. What that does is you’ve made a decision. It’s a good decision, let’s assume, right? But you’ve recognized that she has a life outside of you and that might not work for her. She might hate sushi. 7:00 might not work, she’s got yoga. Whatever. So, you’re respecting her agency, her ability to run her own life, but you’re making decisions so she doesn’t have to, right? And listen, there are some women who want to negotiate that, fine. Negotiate it. No problem. “Hey, what about this place?” It’s not saying you have to drag her by the hair to wherever you want to go and that’s the end of the discussion. That’s actually – we’re gonna talk about that in a second – that’s being a fucking asshole. It’s more like, “Okay. I have opinions. I have ideas. I’m gonna make decisions and then I’m going to ask you if you like them and if they fit with your life and if they do, we’re doing what I say and if they don’t then we’ll negotiate and find a better situation for both of us.”

Geoff:
Yeah. You make the effort to make a specific offer and trust that if she doesn’t like it, she’ll give you feedback and say no. And then you listen to her feedback, right? If she says, “I don’t like sushi,” you come up with a specific alternative, right? And that’s kind. That’s appreciative. That’s taking good care of her. That’s making her life better, and lifting the burden of making choices from her while still giving her female choice capability.

Tucker:
So, again, if you’re a young guy and you’re not going on a date taking young girls to dinner, this doesn’t apply just to dinner. It’s, “What bar are we going to tonight?” “What are we gonna do tomorrow?” “We’re gonna go hang out.” Okay. There’s a lot of things you can do hanging out, right? So, if you say, “Hey, let’s go play mini-golf. I’ll pick you up at four. Does that work?” Same thing. Same principle. Rich, poor, dumb, smart, tall, short, it doesn’t matter. This principle can apply to whatever it is you do with women.

Geoff:
And this could be little, tiny things, right? Almost totally symbolic, like, “Hey. Have you ever had a Belgian weiss beer? I like them.” Just make little micro-suggestions, little micro-offers, right? And again, that lifts the burden of decision making a little bit from her.

Tucker:
I would even phrase that a different way, and we’re parsing a little bit crazy here. I’d be like, “Hey. I’m a big Belgian Weiss beer fan. You want to go get one tonight?” So, instead of asking, I’m thinking this is more my marketing mind thinking – instead of asking, “Have you ever had one?” you want the question to be, “Yes, no, I’m going,” not, “I have to think about two things. Have I had one and then do I want to go?” So, if she hasn’t had one, she’s like, “Oh, that’s cool! Something new!” If she’s like, “No, I hate beer. I’m a gluten weirdo,” then alright. You don’t go. Whatever. Either way’s fine. It’s not a problem. Alright, so I think we covered agreeableness as its own thing. Let’s talk about aggressiveness. Aggressiveness is the word that they use in psychological literature, which is like, what you use when you talk about this. Don’t think about aggressiveness, guys. This is how to be confident and assertive and dominant in a way that’s not a fucking asshole. ‘Cause it’s really easy to mistake asshole dominance with confidence and assertiveness, right? Women find confidence very attractive. Assertiveness, very attractive. Decisiveness, very attractive. They do not – even dominance in certain situations, done the right way, is extremely attractive to women. What’s not is over-controlling, domineering asshole behavior, right? So, let’s really dig into the differences between the two things. So, let’s start with the wrong way to be assertive, let’s call it, right? Starting fights. Dude, I don’t know many girls who are like, “I really like going out with him. He’s just always pushing people around. He doesn’t take shit from anyone. He starts fights at least once a night. It’s great.”

Geoff:
“If we walk past a homeless person, he’ll just kick him in the head. That’s so sexy.” No. Women do not think like that. That’s American Psycho shit.

Tucker:
Kick him in the head. Oh, my god.

Geoff:
So, we talk about the tender defender, right? And tender is the kind part. Defender is the assertive part. And defender does not mean aggressor, right? It means if there’s a threat, you’ll stand up to the threat and protect the woman and yourself and, you know, vulnerable beings nearby like babies.

Tucker:
A threat can even be an asshole waiter or something.

Geoff:
Yeah, it could be a social threat. It could be a physical threat. It could be, like, a reputational threat. Anything like that. You’ll stand up to it, but you won’t go making trouble. And in fact, you’ll avoid the avoidable threats. You’ll keep out of situations of danger. I think about it as, like, if you take a threat management course, they talk about a lot of guys kind of wander around in what they call condition white, which is oblivious. You’re texting, you’ve got no idea of your surroundings. What you should be is in what they call condition yellow, which is sort of vigilant weariness, where you’re scanning the environment fairly often for threats, especially when you’re with a woman, and you’re noticing potential sources of danger and just kind of tracking them. Not freaking out, but you’re in the moment and you’re aware of potential threats. And that can be very attractive. If you notice a threat and kind of guide a woman around it before she even notices it, you’re proactively vigilant. That’s super attractive.

Tucker:
I mean, don’t…guys, god forbid, don’t take that advice and think you now have to be a fucking special forces ninja walking down the street, ‘cause in America, there’s just not a lot of threats. But I think, take Dr. Miller’s statement and apply it to your life, right? So, how do I interact with this girl in a way where she doesn’t ever feel unsafe? This all ties back to what we’ve talked about over and over. One of the worst things you can do is make a girl feel unsafe and one of the best things you can do is make her feel safe. A confident, assertive man makes a woman feel safe. Which again, be careful here. Understand we are not talking about, like, women that are passive wallflowers and you have to fucking protect them because they can’t handle anything. That shit went out with the fucking fifties. It’s not true. It’s foolish. We are not telling you to take charge of a woman. Most women don’t like that. There’s a big difference between taking charge and being confident and assertive. What would you say the essential difference between those things are? ‘Cause I think a lot of guys get this wrong.

Geoff:
I think an essential difference is, like, if you’re the domineering asshole patriarch, you’re treating a woman as if you’re her boss or she’s your chattel or your sex slave, whereas the right way to be a tender defender is more thinking of it as, like, I’m her bodyguard, as if she’s kind of a celebrity I’m protecting. I’m vigilant. I’m gonna intervene if there’s a threat, but I’m not telling her where to go and what to do. I might make suggestions. I might make offers, but my role is protective rather than directive.

Tucker:
Yeah. I would be careful. I know you’re making a metaphor. I’d be careful with the bodyguard metaphor, though, because the bodyguard is in a submissive role even though he’s the defender. You know what I’m saying? So, I think guys can misinterpret that metaphor. Let’s go with more…what’s a really good metaphor? Honestly, a good way to think about it is if you look at sort of the iconic representations of hunter-gatherers, even in media. The man’s a little bit bigger than the woman because that’s the way humans are. The man generally has a weapon, like a spear, and the woman has, like, a basket. Hunter and gatherer, right? It doesn’t mean that women can’t hunt or men can’t gather. It’s just those are their primary roles. I think what’s cool about that image is that it shows the woman has agency and is active and does shit. In a hunter-gatherer society, the contributions of the women, even beyond child-rearing, are extraordinarily important. You know, they tend to be medicinal, social, they gather a bunch of different foods, usually non-meat foods, so roots, vegetables, whatever that hunter-gatherer society eats that isn’t necessarily meat. Hugely important roles, essentially 50/50, but just totally different roles, okay?

Geoff:
Yeah. She’s not following him around when he’s going off hunting, right? She’s spending most of the daylight hours apart from him with other women doing their gathering stuff, and if a leopard appears, they have to deal with it as women. Right? Human females are very good at doing that stuff. They’re huge formidable primates in their own right, okay?

Tucker:
Yes. So, understand we are not talking about fifties patriarchy. At the same time, we are also not talking about this goofy, deformed, early 21st-century feminism that says that men can’t do anything and women are the only people who can do stuff. That is just as stupid and ridiculous as the ridiculous fifties patriarchy that said women are stupid and have to sit at home, pregnant and nursing kids and the man did everything. Both of them are wrong. The real philosophy and perspective to take is the middle, which is…I think the best way to describe it is to say I am going to be very confident, very capable, and very skilled, and I will take the lead except in times where the woman wants to offer her opinion or wants to take the lead or has a skillset that is better than mine, so she’ll take the lead in that. Okay? It’s more of a collaborative sharing sort of thing where a man definitely has his role and he can be very confident and assertive and aggressive, but it’s not a black or white thing. Either of those light switches – you know, up or down, both those extremes are always wrong. I think a lot of guys don’t get that. They think, “Oh, it didn’t work being a nice guy, so I’m—“ And they acted as a nice guy as a sort of passive, submissive doormat, “So I’m now gonna be an asshole.” And then they go out and they’re, like, angry at women, so they yell at them or curse or try and treat them like shit, and that doesn’t work either. Listen, guys. There is no one on earth who understands the asshole game better than me, so don’t fucking listen to anyone else telling you. Trust me, no one has more fucking moral authority – moral and experiential authority talking about that. I am telling you straight up, just being a dominant asshole dickhead with nothing else gets you nowhere with women, unless you’re paying hookers, and that’s not getting anywhere with women. That’s just a transaction. That’s just a fee for a service. Alright? So, let me recognize something here, too. We’re telling you to be confident, be assertive, be dominant, and we’re kind of giving you examples. Look. Confidence as a topic is a long topic, and we’re gonna have to have at least one, probably multiple podcasts just about confidence, but let me give you one takeaway right now for confidence. If you are not confident and you want to be confident, the number one thing – and everything else beyond this, basically, is details – demonstrated performance. So, you want to feel confident in something? Start doing it small and get better and you’ll feel more confident at it. So, for instance, if you want to be confident in your free throws, you have to practice free throws, and as you get better, you’re gonna feel confident. It’s not that different with women. If you want to feel confident in your ability to make decisions with women and to talk to them or whatever, start in the smallest possible way. We’re gonna have so much material about talking to women and conversations. I don’t want to get too far into that, but if you want to be confident in conversation with women, you have to start by talking to women. Just do it in the lowest-stakes, lowest-risk environment, and just keep practicing and practicing and practicing, and eventually, you’ll feel confident there. Then, you’ll move up a little bit. You know, a little bit higher stakes, higher risk, etc. Okay? That’s a short, quick guide to confidence. Now, let’s talk actually about – I want to focus on this because this is important for guys. Unattractive forms of aggressiveness, because a lot of guys do this and they don’t know it. And guys, I know a lot of these early podcasts, we’ve spent time telling you what not to do. Well, it’s because most of you are unattractive to women. If you stop being unattractive, you’re on the right road to being attractive. In fact, a lot of guys, if you just stop doing unattractive things, you’re gonna see your success increase immediately. So, let’s talk about some things. Let’s talk about easy ones. Bad temper.

Geoff:
Yeah. Oh, my god. Irritability, bad temper, losing control…

Tucker:
Screaming at people, raging at people…

Geoff:
That’s not assertive. That’s not confident. That’s actually undercutting a woman’s whole sense of safety, right? ‘Cause she can’t trust that you’ll maintain control of yourself and the irritable, aggressive guy is, if he’s your boyfriend, that’s the biggest threat she faces in life! And the biggest threat her kids face, right?

Tucker:
It is. I mean, literally, statistically, empirically, and Louis CK has a great piece about that. Great, funny skit about this. Men are the biggest threat to women, in terms of a physical violence perspective, right? Which, by the way, women actually commit a lot of domestic violence, too, which is a different discussion, but yeah. Empirically, women have to be more afraid of people close to them than strangers. So, if you act like a raging asshole, not good.

Geoff:
And guys are not good at judging this in themselves. No guy ever thinks he’s the bad guy, right? Every guy who beats his wife thinks, “She provoked me. It’s her fault. I’m just reacting the way any guy would.” Well, you need a reality check. You actually need to get some second and third opinions.

Tucker:
Well, let’s back it off wife-beating because no one argues wife-beating. You’re right. There are guys who beat their wives and they try to rationalize it to themselves. Those are just objectively awful people. We’re talking about, like, hopefully there aren’t a lot of wife beaters listening to this podcast. And if there are, please stop, but there are a lot of normal guys, legitimately nice guys, who would never hit a woman. We’re not gonna talk about that, who have real rage and anger problems that come out in ways they don’t realize that is very unattractive to women. I know because I’m one of them. Like, there are a lot of times in my life, like, I’ve gotten pissed off at something – not at the woman, just whatever. Like, something will happen somewhere and I’ll fucking freak out and get pissed and women will be like, “Ooh, wow. Okay. I’m gonna go over here now,” right? And if you read my books, you read about the times when I am funny with it or when I pull it off, which is often and the older I got, the more experience I had, I was better at it, but there are a lot of times where I’ve gotten angry or I’ve done something like that, it didn’t work out. Actually, I write about a lot of times it didn’t work out, too, actually, if you read my books. I get punked just as much as I win. But literally, a big part of why I went into psychoanalysis and why I meditate and stuff is learning to understand my emotions and take control of them because being an asshole does not mean being an angry, raging, shithead. That’s almost never successful.

Geoff:
Yeah. It’s about emotional intelligence, emotional self-control. And bear in mind, women have much more sensitive radar for kind of conflict and threat and irritability than men would believe. Like, women have a kind of running mental sensor that’s like, how much tension is in the room, right? And it’s really sensitive and if you’re in a bad mood, they will notice. They will feel it in their gut, in their body.

Tucker:
And literally, this isn’t Eckhart Tolle shit. You’re talking about real, actual, physiological reactions triggered by the brain.

Geoff:
Yeah. Literally, a woman’s sympathetic nervous system will get overactive and she’ll get cortisol and adrenaline and even little things like – well, driving’s a good example, actually. Driving, right? Like, being a good tender defender when you’re driving a woman around in your car does not mean you drive aggressively, right? A lot of guys think, “I need to show I’m a guy. I’m gonna tailgate. I’m gonna speed. I’m gonna drive recklessly. That’ll be sexy.”

Tucker:
“I’ll be yelling at other drivers.”

Geoff:
Now, a woman’s body will shut down erotically if you do that. Women are so much more frightened of traffic, rightly so, than most young guys.

Tucker:
Because it’s very dangerous and most young guys have very high-risk tolerance whereas most women don’t, intelligently.

Geoff:
Yeah. It’s objectively one of the most dangerous things you can do as a young woman, is to be in a car with a young man.

Tucker:
That’s why insurance rates are, like, double for young guys as young women. Insurance companies aren’t trying to screw young guys. They’re just looking at the data! I mean, they are trying to screw you, but that’s different. The data actually shows that, like, young guys are all terrible drivers. I was. I think I had four wrecks before I was twenty-five or something.

Geoff:
Yeah. One of my worst first dates ever was, like, losing control of my little Mazda Station Wagon going around a cloverleaf highway intersection and the girl in my car. We literally went twenty feet off the road into the grass, and I kind of got back on the road and took her to the movie, but—

Tucker:
After that, it was like…

Geoff:
She was shaking for the next three hours, and I was, like, “It’s no big deal. The car still worked.”

Tucker:
I’m not even kidding. I actually was on a date one time, and this girl I was already sleeping with, actually. I had slept with her once or twice. We were driving and I was in a bad mood. I was screaming at drivers, and I, like, basically there was traffic on the highway and I just had enough, so I just passed all the traffic on the shoulder, right? Which is not just illegal but extremely dangerous, and she freaked out and made me drop her off at a Texaco station at an exit. This wasn’t a highway in the middle of nowhere. This was in the city, but made me drop her off and she called a taxi. And I didn’t fuck her anymore after that. I forgot about that. Yeah, I totally forgot about that. I absolutely rationalized that in my mind that she was just whatever.

Geoff:
Yeah. Guys, if a woman says, “Just drop me off right now.” that’s a bad sign.

Tucker:
This is a girl I’d already slept with! How hard is that to fuck that up, man? I forgot about that. What an idiot. Oh, my goodness.

Geoff:
But honestly, another little thing is, like, if you get in the car and she’s not wearing her seatbelt, say, “Put your seatbelt on.” Not because you’re being—

Tucker:
Be careful. If you’re a young dude and you’re, like, real weird about things, sometimes the girl’s like, “Alright, Poindexter,” or Grandpa. Socially. That’s an example you’ve got to adjust socially. Like, if you’re in your thirties, that’s a great thing to do. If you’re nineteen, maybe not. Maybe, maybe not. Some girls, it’d be great. Some will be like, “This guy’s a little bit weird. That’s something my dad would say.” That’s not sexy to a 19-year-old girl.

Geoff:
Yeah. It depends on her. Like, if she’s intelligent and risk-averse and you’re doing it as a kind of kind, protective gesture where you’re, like, anticipating her safety and her needs, that’s cool. If you’re doing it like, the reason why I want you to put your seatbelt on is if I decelerate suddenly, I don’t want your head to get blood all over my dashboard, that’s wrong.

Tucker:
Well, that actually brings up the next point, is unattractive forms of assertiveness. Let’s talk about narcissism. Not narcissism, but call it pseudo-alpha behavior, right? Like, almost always young guys, but it can be older guys, very aggressive towards other people. And I’m not even talking about violence, but, like, “Oh, yeah. I’m fucking awesome. I’m gonna walk around like I’m the shit,” or whatever. And listen, I did this very much in my twenties. It wasn’t more physical. It was more intellectual, the way I would do it, but it’s the same thing. If you feel the need to project your aggressiveness or power or confidence onto other people, that means you aren’t confident. That is coming from a position of deep, deep insecurity, and I say this as someone who has walked both sides of this path for a very long time. Both sides, I walked for a very long time. If you feel the need to essentially establish your status in any group the way a baboon would, then you are an insecure, probably young, douche, and that is…I don’t want to say always unattractive to women, but there aren’t a lot of times where women are like, “I really like how he talked a bunch and shouted people down and talked about his BMW a bunch and…” …did all these other things that insecure guys think make them look cool.

Geoff:
Yeah. Like, Tucker, you hang out with ex-Special Forces guys and operators and shit and when I meet them, I’m like, “Wow, he’s quietly confident.” Not strutting. Think about how off-duty cops behave, right? They don’t strut. They don’t brag. They’ve been in more violent encounters than you can imagine, but they don’t go around looking for fights—

Tucker:
I’ll tell you, you brought up a great point, though. I have a lot of cop friends. I trained in, like, Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai with a lot of the cops in Austin, and I have a lot of…two of my best investing buddies are both Army Special Forces. Cade Courtley is a good friend of mine. He’s a Navy SEAL who lives in town. There’s a difference between those two, though. I think that brings up a good point. The cops are far more…they project their body posture far more assertively than the SF guys. Look, you spend eight years in fucking teams. You’ve fucking killed people. Like, people have shot at you in anger. Like, you’ve gone through real shit. Some cops are confident, but a lot of cops become cops because they’re not confident and they want power over other people. You actually make a good point and I don’t think you’re even realizing it, you know? Like, there are a lot of good cops, but a lot of cops are small-dicked assholes who become cops to wield power over people. So, here, guys. You want a great example of guys who act alpha but are not and it’s very unattractive? Think of that small-dicked asshole cop who fucking busts you for bullshit, for a minor in possession or whatever, and how he acted to you? That’s how you might – if you’re one of those guys – are acting, and that’s how it’s coming off to women.

Geoff:
Or even more than actual cops, private security guards. Mall cops. TSA dudes, right?

Tucker:
The worst! Great example.

Geoff:
Okay. Now, the difference between the operators and the cops is that, if you’re in Afghanistan, you’re not gonna deter the Taliban from shooting you through your body language, right? Whereas a cop will actually deter a lot of criminals from attacking him through the personal space he projects.

Tucker:
True.

Geoff:
So, there are functional reasons why cops kind of come across as domineering assholes, ‘cause some of it actually works with the kind of the criminal element that they interact with, but it doesn’t work to attract women. Women are attracted to cops…

Tucker:
The uniform.

Geoff:
…because the cop is capable, personally, but also crucially, she knows if she becomes cop-wife, there’s not just him but there’s literally a whole precinct of his brothers and sisters who will protect her.

Tucker:
And it’s authority status figure. The uniform. Just like there’s jersey-chasers, there are badge-chasers, you know? Because the badge confers status, but that status tracks with protection, dominance, social status, etc. That’s actually a great…Private security, like mall cops and fucking TSA is the perfect example, even better than asshole cops. Guys, if you’re not one of the guys – if you’ve got the other problem, you’re too much of a nice guy, then you know exactly who we’re talking about. But if you’ve got the problem you’re probably too much of an asshole, this is how you look to other people, especially women who you’re trying to fuck. You’re coming off as a mall cop when you walk in, fucking trying to push people around or trying to talk about how cool you are or just in any way try and socially dominate people, the best way to “win” social interactions is to be confident. You don’t have to be quiet, but you have to be confident. You have to be assertive, but only when things are pushed against you. That’s the difference. Don’t go out looking for battles to win. There’s enough shit that happens in life, if you hold your line, that’s confident and assertive, whereas mall cops and TSA look for ways to put you down. Don’t do that.

Geoff:
Because they didn’t get into the police academy! So, don’t be that mall cop. Women don’t sexually fantasize about, like…

Tucker:
There’s no mall cop porn!

Geoff:
…emotionally unintelligent mall cop who doesn’t own his masculinity and whatever.

Tucker:
That’s a really good example. Here’s some other forms of unattractive assertiveness. This kind of ties in with what we just talked about. If you are obsessed with swords and guns and war movies and things like that – obsessed, not have them. If you are obsessed, then that is not always a good sign. There are some women – listen, if you’re dating a hog hunter in Arkansas, she might really like that. But if a girl comes to your place and you have posters of Stallone and fucking whoever, Jason Statham on your wall, and your guns are out and you have, like, all these swords you bought on the Home Shopping Network or wherever, that’s not attractive. That’s what 40-year-olds with greasy ponytails have, who don’t have girls. If you like guns, that’s cool. If you like knives, that’s cool. If you like MMA, whatever, that’s cool. All that stuff is actually good, right? So, again. This is a concept that’s very difficult for young guys to understand. It is not either/or. It is middle for some of these things. Being able to defend yourself and fight, having trained in MMA is great. Making every conversational interaction about how you can arm bar somebody is being a fucking asshole that no one likes, right?

Geoff:
Yeah. It shouldn’t be the center of your identity, unless you’re a professional MMA fighter, unless it’s actually the way you make a living.

Tucker:
But even then, if you’re a professional MMA fighter, you don’t want to talk about MMA all day.

Geoff:
Yeah. Any more than the wife of a lawyer wants him always to talk about the law.

Tucker:
That’s actually a great point. Seriously. I want to talk about this for a second. So, I’ve trained at MMA with a lot of the best guys in the world, ‘cause MMA is still relatively new, so the best guys still a lot of times have to teach to make money. Guys like Mac Danzig, who won UFC 6, is a good friend of mine. Bas Rutten, who everyone knows. Randy Couture, Carl Preece, Dan Hardy. Go down the list, ‘cause I lived in LA when I first started and that was, like, ’07, ’08, ’09, when those guys…UFC was coming up. If you had said to me who is the calmest, most centered, most confident man you’ve ever met, I might answer Randy Couture. Randy Couture is, like, a Buddha with muscles. Nothing shakes him. He is the nicest guy. When he comes in the gym, it actually calms the gym down. Everyone’s, like…it’s like, this might be a little bit of a goofy sort of analogy, but work with me for a second. It’s almost like the way a silverback’s presence calms his harem and children, right? It’s sort of like that, like, you can see the difference. ‘Cause he is so nice, but here’s the thing. He doesn’t have to flex on anybody because he’s earned it, so he’s confident. Remember I talked about demonstrative performance before? Super confident. And it’s funny. The only guys at MMA gyms who are ever kind of assholes are the ones who are trying to, like, be something that they’re not yet, you know? Like, the guys who are just learning and training usually are fine. They’re like, “Alright. I’m not very good. No big deal.” The guys who are really good are like, “Yeah, I’m really good. Okay.” It’s the ones in the middle, right? You don’t get anywhere doing that. Like, Randy’s the perfect example. Act like Randy Couture or Bas Rutten’s the same way. Bas Rutten’s so funny, so nice, and then I remember I was holding the suitcase pad for him one time, for a Muay Thai kick, for demonstration, and he’s like, “Don’t kick like this,” and did a little kind of ballet tap, right? He’s like, “Kick like this! Like a man!” and reared back and threw a leg kick into me, through a suitcase pad. I thought he was gonna break my leg. But, like, not trying to hurt me. Just the nicest guy, but this dude’s a stone-cold killer. Every dude I’ve ever met who’s, like, a really…Tim Kennedy’s a good friend of mine. Well, not a good friend of mine, we train together, right? Tim Kennedy is in the Special Forces, literally. He’s one of the best snipers, literally, in the military. Like, he teaches sniping to Special Forces guys. Also a professional UFC fighter. I don’t know if I know a nicer person. Like, I’d want him to marry my sister. I’d marry him if I was a woman! Nicest dude on Earth! Truly confident, strong, powerful men are almost always very nice and kind.

Geoff:
And this is where, actually, a lot of Hollywood stereotypes will not serve you well, ‘cause often, the high status guy in a Hollywood movie is, like, the middle-aged power-hungry, secretly insecure…

Tucker:
Gordon Gekko from Wall Street.

Geoff:
Like, evil dude. Right? And the hero is younger and kind of actually more of a tender defender and tries to over – that’s not the way alpha male status works in primate groups, right? Actually, the alpha male has that kind of Randy Couture calming effect, right? He’s the guy who intervenes when the juvenile males are fighting and get out of hand and actually are threatening the babies and the females. He’s the one who intervenes and forces—

Tucker:
He keeps peace.

Geoff:
…Keeps peace, keeps everybody safe and calm. That’s his role. That’s why he gets respect.

Tucker:
That’s Robert Sapolsky’s research. He’s one of the main researchers in that. Jane Goodall’s research, also. We’ll link a bunch of Sapolsky’s books on the page for this, because if you really care about the actual primate research, because it applies directly to humans…It’s not directly to you getting laid, but to understand these concepts. So, I want to make this very clear. Act like Randy Couture. Not like a bully. If anything you do, if anyone can perceive it as bullying, no bullies are attractive to women. What’s attractive is real confidence and real strength. And I mean strength of character. You don’t have to be huge and physical. I know plenty of people…I don’t actually know Bill Clinton, but I know a ton of people who know Clinton, and I’ve actually slept with two women who slept with Clinton first. It’s funny – and I believe them both, because they both said the exact same thing about him – but Clinton’s not a strong guy. He’s not dominating anyone because he’s big. I mean, he’s tall. He’s 6’1”, but it’s more his presence. He’s got this warm confidence. That’s extremely attractive and charismatic, alright?

Geoff:
And here’s one reason why it’s not about physical strength, right? Because in prehistory, women and their kids are threatened by a lot of literal wild animals that are ten times stronger than any human male. I kind of realized this when I was driving around Cooper Park with my girlfriend and our 1-year-old, right? There was a male elephant, young male, in musth, that means their hormones are raging and they’re super aggressive, and he’s standing in the middle of the road, flapping his ears, which is basically like, “I’m about to charge your car and kill you all.” Now, if I got out of the car and just went, “Oh, fuck you, elephant! I’m gonna hit you!”

Tucker:
“I’m gonna have a showdown with a bull elephant.”

Geoff:
That will not…He’s 10,000 pounds. I’m 160 pounds. No. The strength you have to show there is, like, stay calm and get your Lada Russian rental car that just stalled to start again so you can backup, right? So, the strength of character that you need in a lot of these situations is not physical strength. It’s the resourcefulness and knowledge and altruism to go, “Oh, wow. We’re under a real threat. I’m gonna deal with it.”

Tucker:
Exactly. So, like, a big part of being a tender defender is not – I know we talk about defending women. Really, there’s very few times in your life there’s gonna be a physical defense necessary. Most of it is social, verbal, intellectual, right? So, what are some good examples? I’m thinking, like, you’re in a bar and some guy’s leering at your girl or something. Move her to a different spot if she’s uncomfortable. Okay. That’s simple. Something like…here’s a good one. You’re sitting around and maybe her friends are there and they’re making comments like, “Oh,” whatever. Some sort of snide, female, slut-shaming type thing, right? Because we’ve said before and we’ll cover again, female-female competition is very real and it impacts the way women make decisions, so there’s a way to react. You can get angry and yell at them, won’t work. You can be passive and do nothing, doesn’t work. Those are the two worst things – that’s nice guy or asshole, right? What if you do something in the middle, where it’s like…you say something like, “Well, I like Jenny a lot. We have a good time together, but I would never talk about that with anyone else and I’m sure your boyfriends don’t talk about you with other guys,” or something like that. So, where it’s like, you’re making it clear to her, to the girls that are being chirpy bitches to your girlfriend or whatever, you’re making it clear to them that you’re not going to tolerate that, but you’re doing it in a socially intelligent way. That’s a defender. It’s not a super good example, but the point is, you’re defending her. You’re standing up for her in a way that’s socially intelligent and confident, but not aggressive and thuggish.

Geoff:
Yeah. Another example would be…and I’ve often had this with women, ‘cause the women I date tend to be kind of intellectual and we go to parties and people talk about intellectual stuff, and often, the arguments kind of escalate and tempers flare a little bit.

Tucker:
Of course, the academics. Yeah.

Geoff:
‘Cause, you know, it’s psychology, so a lot of it has kind of political implications. Often there will be some asshole guy who’s getting really het up and hot under the collar against whatever, the woman I’m dating, right?

Tucker:
About some academic issue, but still very angry.

Geoff:
Yeah. And he’s starting to get a little bit of…to be verbally bullying to her, right? And there, if you’re the passive nice guy and just sit back and let that happen, she will be really…kind of pissed off afterwards. Even if she doesn’t admit it to herself, she wanted you to stand up for her. That doesn’t mean you immediately hit the guy, right? Especially if he’s your department chairman or something. But it means you intervene actively and shield her somehow, verbally.

Tucker:
Just to make something clear, if she’s handling herself well, god forbid, do not interrupt her like she can’t do it herself. Your role is to support and then lead if necessary, not to jump in and do it for her. If she’s handling a situation on her own well and you jump in and start “defending her,” that’s being an asshole, actually. But if she’s, like, having trouble or whatever and you start off in a support role and maybe even take the lead role defending her, that’s a very good thing, right? It’s never a good thing to take a woman’s agency. It’s always a good thing to support and defend a woman. They’re different things.

Geoff:
Or another typical situation is woman comes home from work and she’s complaining about some guy at work – a client or a peer, whatever, being an asshole. You need to have an immediate emotional response that’s, like, kind of moral outrage on her behalf. What she’ll typically do is kind of complain a little bit. She wants you to hate that guy’s guts. She wants you to have a reaction that’s like, “I wish I could tears his head off and piss down his neck.”

Tucker:
Unless she’s being a crazy person.

Geoff:
Like, you’re not doing that, but the wrong response is to go, “You know. I can kind of see his point of view here and…”

Tucker:
Yeah. That’s a communication style thing. You’re totally right, but generally speaking, and I think we’ll have long podcasts about this because this is a very intricate topic, but generally speaking, in a situation like that, women – correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the women communicate to essentially share social information and commiserate whereas men communicate to problem solve. Clearly a generalization, but a generalization that applies a lot. So, that’s applying tender defender to conversations about things where you can’t even directly defend her, but you can defend her sort of in spirit and after the fact, emotionally.

Geoff:
She wants you to instinctively take her side and your first instinct has to be “protect my woman.”

Tucker:
Right. So, I can actually give you a great example on how this plays out in real life. My girlfriend had a situation like this. She was starting her company and had this situation with this woman she was hiring, whatever, right? And was kind of upset about it and talked to me about it and I actually….this wasn’t, like, kind of, “Yeah, she was being unreasonable, whatever,” and then I kind of took her side, right? So, she calmed down emotionally. And this is basic social, conversational intelligence. She sort of emotionally calmed down and then we kept talking through the issue and realized, oh, there were things that she did wrong that, if she had changed, could’ve maybe made the situation come out better, right? But if I started off with that, then she’s reacting emotionally. Not intellectually. And this is not a fucking woman thing. This is true for guys, too. Like, I’ll come home and be upset and she deals with me the same way, right? It’s not some sexist thing, men are rational, women are ruled by emotions. It’s just empirically not true. We’re both ruled by emotion and rational thought is kind of slapped on at the end, but…so, by empathizing with her and just emotionally defending her, but then helping her think through the argument after she got that support, I was both tender and defender. I didn’t actually think about it this way until we just talked about it. Okay, so let’s summarize real quick. Tender defender. When girls say they want a nice guy, it doesn’t mean they want a passive, submissive coward. It means they want a guy who is empathetic and kind, but they also want a guy who is assertive, confident, can make decisions, can do things, but is not an asshole or a domineering douche or some sort of unconfident poser who’s trying to impose his will on people to feel better about himself, alright? Remember, this is one of those things where you need to find the balance. Some things, you just need to get more of. Money, intelligence, social status. Those are almost always good to have more of. These are things where you need to find a balance, and the balance is sort of the right versions of each, both at the same time. And actually, timing matters, too, right?

Geoff:
Yeah. One last thing I wanted to mention. Tender defender, typically in ordinary life, means you’re being tender about 95% of the time that your focus in most situations is on being kind and generous and peaceful. But then, when the chips are down, when there’s a crisis, when there’s an actual threat, you leap into action assertively, and then you’re the defender. So, it’s not like we’re saying the balance is 50/50. It might be 95/5, but when the chips are down, it’s super important that you be the defender in those situations.

Tucker:
Right. Whether physical, social, intellectual, conversational, anything.

Geoff:
If there’s a genuine threat and a woman feels in danger and you don’t leap to her defense, that can be an emotional deal breaker for the woman.

Tucker:
Yep.

Geoff:
Even if it’s rare, those are kind of golden opportunities. When those happen on dates, when there is a threat, don’t think of it as a disaster. Think of it as, “Wow. It’s kind of good fortune. I can demonstrate protectiveness here.”

Tucker:
Uh-huh. And that’s extremely attractive to a woman. It’s one of the big things. Alright, cool. I think that’s good.

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