Pricing Commitment

An error-management approach to the chat-up scene suggests that the chronic male misinterpretation of female friendliness in terms of sexual interest is – despite all the female complaints – highly rational. For trying it on and being rejected is less costly than missing a reproductive opportunity. For women, however, the calculus points in the opposite direction: the theory has them persistently undervaluing signs of male commitment, because a wrong guess is expensive.

This calculus, however, assumes that women are always seeking commitment, whereas in fact they have a dual strategy: they seek both child-rearing commitment and good genes, and if these are found in two different men, well then, they will be obtained from two different men. This will, in fact, usually be the case, as it is in the avian world; the prettiest male refuses to sit on the eggs, and indeed, why should he not? The female can perfectly well find some inferior male to sit the eggs.

When women meet a man whose appearance suggests a superior heritage, therefore, they by no means discount his approaches as suggested by the error-management approach. It is the man they appoint to bring up the children fathered by the attractive man whom they must subject to the conservative undervaluing and commitment-testing strategy.

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 13:30 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: WHAT WOMEN WANT, The Cult Of St. Joseph

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