Filtering For Players and Cads

May 22, 2012

Very attractive women get a lot of attention from cads and players. In a vestige of assortative mating among the beautiful people, the men most desired by women will at least occasionally try to supplement their “one and done” conquests with women of their own sexual market value. The highest value “target” is a super hot babe who isn’t promiscuous. 

Everything else being equal, the better looking a woman is, the less likely she is to indulge in casual sex. Unlike her male counterpart, who finds himself deluged with offers for what he prizes most (sexual variety), the beautiful woman finds herself the loneliest girl at the ball. David Buss, in The Evolution of Desire, explains why the most attractive women are loath to sell themselves short in the relationship market:

Those who hold valuable resources do not give them away cheaply or unselectively. Evolution favored women who were highly selective about their mates. If a woman walked away from a casual encounter pregnant, she bore the costs of that decision for decades afterward. Today, the pill alters that cost. But sexual psychology evolved over millions of years. We still possess this underlying sexual psychology even though our environment has changed.

… Men’s low standards for [casual sex] reveal a precise strategy to gain access to a variety of partners. 

According to Buss, the floor of male attraction for no-strings sex is characterized by the following female traits:

  1. A low sex drive
  2. Physical unattractiveness
  3. Need for commitment
  4. Hairiness

Bwahahahaha! I’ve known some women fitting 2-4 who bedded players. Beauty is just a lightswitch away!

Of course, everything else never is equal, and some women, including very good looking women, choose to play in the promiscuous pool. Genetic traits, family history, and self-esteem are all correlated to promiscuity in women. 

By and large, though, the women with the highest sexual market value will demand commitment (of emotion or resources) in exchange for sex. Problematically, the men most likely to approach them are the men least willing to make the trade. If cads and players wore signs like marathoners wear numbers, filtering out these opportunists would be easy, if somewhat tedious. In a college environment, a woman can easily steer clear of cads, or make inquiries when necessary to get the scoop on a guy’s MO. After graduation this becomes considerably more difficult. Short of having her knees wired shut, what’s a good looking girl to do?

Of all the stories I hear from readers, I estimate that between one-third and one-half of them are from women who incorrectly judged a man’s character and got burned in the process. With assholes pretending to be good guys, and good guys pretending to be assholes, the lines have become very blurred. Still, women are the gatekeepers to sex, and it is always the female’s responsibility to adequately screen men for honest intent. 

The tried and true method of delaying sex until you know “what it is we’re doing” is still your best bet. But a girl can waste a lot of time and get pretty attached to a guy during that period, only to find out he “wasn’t trying to turn this into anything.” This weekend a young woman shared her method for filtering out players and it’s probably the best one I’ve heard. She’s used it to great effect several times. Unfortunately, every single one of the guys has turned out to want nothing from her but sex, which sucks. She’d love for just one guy to make it through the filter. Of course, nothing is foolproof and a clever cad could sneak through, but she recognizes the enormous value of having a standard that cads are unlikely to meet. 

“Be less interested or more interested.”

Grace met Brady in an orientation program at work. (They had just started working for the same company, but not the same department.) They hit it off, but she learned he was still with his college girlfriend, so she kept her distance. He didn’t act flirtatious or shady, so she figured he was a good guy. A couple of months after the program ended, he asked her out for coffee to catch up, and took the opportunity to mention that he had broken up with his girlfriend. As they walked back to work, he casually said, “We should hang out sometime.” 

Brady began to text Grace just about every weekend. He was always wondering where she was and whether she wanted to come meet him. Since she was with her own friends, she declined the opportunity to hop in a cab and join him on the other side of town. At a Marathon Monday party held by a coworker, Brady was very attentive and when he walked Grace to her car, he told her how much he’d enjoyed seeing her outside the office and asked if he could kiss her. 

Grace: “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Things could get awkward at work.”

Brady: “I don’t share your concern.”

Grace: (laughing) “Oh really? Why is that?”

Brady: “Because there are only two ways things could get awkward. One is if I tell anyone else our business, and the other is if I act like a dick. I have no intention of doing either.”

They kissed. That night Brady sent Grace a text: I want more 😉

Brady continued to text Grace frequently, always spontaneously. He usually initiated texting once he was already out, inviting her over. In some ways Grace felt singled out for attention by this handsome young man. He was motivated, in touch, consistent, and undeterred. He began checking in to see how her day was, say good night, etc. He invited her over for a glass of wine, and asked when he would get to see her apartment. In some ways, Grace felt that she’d gotten to know Brady pretty well, and he certainly had been making his interest clear over the past three months. 

One night Brady confronted Grace (by text of course) about her unwillingness to take their relationship to the next step. He told her he was tired of putting in all the effort if she wasn’t going to give him a shot.

Grace: “You need to be less interested or more interested.”

Brady: “What does that mean?”

Grace: “Your effort is consistent but half-assed.”

Brady: “Half-assed? What the hell. Why would you even say that. I’ve been trying to get with you for months.”

Grace: “Exactly. You want to see me? Let’s meet for dinner one night at 7:00. Let’s go for a run. Don’t text me late night when you’re already out with your friends. Either stop contacting me completely or step up your game.”

This just happened, so I don’t know the outcome yet, but Grace feels certain she won’t be receiving any more attention from Brady. In fact, she thinks it’s entirely possible a lot of those texts were group texts. 

Many women convince themselves that a consistent level of attention over a period of time means the guy’s intentions point toward a relationship instead of a hookup. In fact, months of low quality attention is worthless. You’d be better off without it. You’d benefit if he were less interested.

If he does want something real, he’ll step up and ask you out in a legit way, eager to demonstrate he’s not a player. He’d be more interested.