I ran across this little snippit in something called ShinyGuy:

There’s only one entity worthy of more contempt than the Womanizer, however: His protege, the Hapless Wannabe.

The Hapless Wannabe is the man who truly feels less-than-full when compared to the Womanizer (a lifeform we’ve already established to be a {bleep-bleeping bleepatory} amoeba living only to grow fatter and grosser and increasingly irrelevant with each passing moment). While the Hapless Wannabe buys into the {male cow excrement} of the Womanizer, he lacks the social skills to actually indulge in what he perceives as his “male biological imperative.” (If you have witnessed a single episode of Blind Date (awesome show), you have seen the Hapless Wannabe at work.)

The piece is a slap on Maxim and the lad-mag industry as a whole, but I think that the author touches on an interesting point here. Not necessarily about Maxim (or only Maxim), but something I’ve seen on a lot of blogs that delve into male-female relations.

Trickle-down economics is based on the theory that if enough capital is supplied to (or left in the hands of) the wealthy, they will generate more wealth that will trickle down to those that have less wealth. I believe that this theory is true to some extent, though how much is up for debate. The degree to which it is true may be overwhelmed by the adverse effects of the disparity of wealth. In other words, though the wealth of a wealthy society materially benefits even those that receive only a tiny fraction of that wealth, the psychological harm done to the unwealthy may outweigh the material benefit significantly. The poor may get some better toys, but their comparative lack of wealth is greatly accentuated, leaving them with more worth but feeling more worthless.

My generation and the generation before me and the generation after me has greater access to sex with more people than any generation prior to these in the history of our country as far as I am aware. Sex is everywhere we look. It’s on television, at the movies, in the music we listen to, and in the stories we hear. If we’re not having sex, we’re often left to believe that there is something wrong with us. That we are sexually worthless. The more we hear about how much sex other people are having, the more worthless many of us feel.

In this age of sexual access, those that are denied sexual access for one reason or another can sometimes feel cheated. Even those that do get some sex thanks in part to the sexual revolution and the subsequent overall increase in the availability of sex feel comparatively cheated. More cheated than they would probably feel if they got no sex in a culture where most people weren’t and those that were were expected to keep quiet about it. Objective wealth, subjective deprivation.

The deprived can react in many ways. Some less fortunate people try to fake not being less fortunate. This is where the conspicuous consumption of the poor comes into place in the economic world and where Maxim comes into place in the sexual world. Reality bedamned, they’re going to fake it. If they fake it well enough, people will believe it. In the economic world, maybe they will be accorded the respect that they would be if they had earned the money. In the sexual world, maybe they will be able to parlay the image for a reality. Confidence, they’re told, is sexy.

Another reaction is more in line with what I’ve seen over the last couple years: bitterness mates with feigned moral superiority and gives birth to conspiracy theories. In economics, we have cultivated the image of the honorable yeoman’s successor, the honorable working man. Myths are born such as the notion that the middle and working classes tip better than wealthy people do. The honorable working man stands in contrast to the evil, greedy, rich man that goes to absurd lengths to keep poor people poor. In relationships I have seen over and over again the sexually less fortunate divide the world into meek nice-guy beta males and malicious asshole alpha males. We have meek nice guys that are tossed aside by loathsomely superficial women in favor of the jerks who look cool and drive better cars.

There is always enough truth in these theories to keep them afloat. There are enough jerkly playboys that we can attribute that character to anyone that has easy access to sex. There are enough women holding out for a man that seems to be out of her league that we can attribute that to all women. There are enough women that are generally attracted to the edgy sort of guy that always hurts them in the end that we can see ourselves as would-be saviors or heroes thwarted by the system. Ignore or explain away all counter-evidence and you’re all set. Better yet, you’re permitted to lie and cheat because all you’re doing is playing their game. You’re still better than they are because you are only doing it because you have to and they are doing it because they’re flawed.

I think that it’s these sorts of attitudes that seep into the consciousness of some men that give the unsuccessful the bad reputation that we have. It’s why we’re not seen as the heroes to the women that we so obviously are in our own minds. In the same way that the wealthy often see the poor as a collection of useless dimwits and thieves — and not always completely without reason — the popular see the unpopular as morally or substantively lacking. They see their own success as something that they’ve earned. It’s easy to pay yourself on the back for never having stolen anything when you’ve never been hungry. It’s easy to believe that the game isn’t rigged when you’re always the winner just as it’s easier to convince yourself that you always lose because the game must be rigged rather than to attempt to improve.

So you’ve got people saying that the game is fair and you have those saying that it is impossibly unfair. Neither are entirely correct. The less fortunate in both spheres can often do a whole lot to improve their prospects. Sometimes they’re lazy, though sometimes they just don’t know how and they don’t have the skills to improve nearly as much as they would like to so they get discouraged. And these limits are real. No matter how hard they work they’ll end up in line behind at least some of these people that didn’t have to work much at all to get where they are. These people that have the money and sex that dwarfs whatever incremental improvement they make. Objective improvement, subjective deprivation.


Category: Coffeehouse

About the Author


16 Responses to Trickle-Down Sexonomics

  1. Kirk says:

    Good post. I identify greatly with your last paragraph:

    “The less fortunate in both spheres can often do a whole lot to improve their prospects. Sometimes they’re lazy, though sometimes they just don’t know how and they don’t have the skills to improve nearly as much as they would like to so they get discouraged.”

    Fits me to a “T”! I don’t know how to get a date, so I’ve given up and become lazy. Jesus, it takes all my effort just to go to a Starbucks, and when I do I wish I would have just stayed home and had a cup of instant coffee.

    On a side note, that “Shinygun” blog misused the word “penultimate.” I might not be getting any action, but at least I know the definition of words!

  2. Peter says:

    The chicks-dig-jerks theme is nothing new, of course. Our great-great-great grandfathers probably had similar complaints. What does seem to be new, or new-ish at least, is the stark division of men into the Alpha and Beta (or Alpha, Beta and Omega) categories. Fifteen or 20 years ago there was a spectrum rather than discrete categories. Some men were very lucky with women, some men were total failures, and most men fell somewhere in the middle. No one used terms like Alpha and Beta to describe men, though come to think of it even today those terms are used almost exclusively in the blogosphere and not in actual conversation.

    It could be that the increasing inequality that is a more or less inevitable byproduct of increased availability of sex has led to the decline of the spectrum concept and its replacement by the stark Alpha/Beta division. The gap between the men at either end of the spectrum has grown, to the point at which it makes more sense to assign them to separate categories.

  3. Barry says:

    Alpha and Beta almost exclusively used in the blogosphere? I’ve heard the term “Alpha Male” and “Alpha Female” for years…

    I also think the Alpha/Beta/Omega division (as you put it – very apt) has been around for a long time. It just wasn’t defined as such. Look at popular culture – the example that came to mind was Happy Days:

    Alpha Male – Fonzie. Ultracool, got every chick.

    Beta Male – Richie. Nice guy, kinda boring but good. Had a girl but she was kind nice and boring too.

    Omega Male – Ralph, Potsie and the other nerds. Rarely had girls.

    It’s happened like that forever.

  4. Peter says:

    I also think the Alpha/Beta/Omega division (as you put it – very apt) has been around for a long time. It just wasn’t defined as such. Look at popular culture – the example that came to mind was Happy Days:
    Alpha Male – Fonzie. Ultracool, got every chick.
    Beta Male – Richie. Nice guy, kinda boring but good. Had a girl but she was kind nice and boring too.
    Omega Male – Ralph, Potsie and the other nerds. Rarely had girls.

    They all hung around together, which more or less supports my position that things were more of a spectrum until recent years. Today you’d never see a Fonzie-like pickup artist hanging around with a can’t-score-to-save-his-life nerd. They’d see themselves as practically different species.

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the premise. I think that in many ways the sexual revolution has made things worse for non-alphas in absolute terms. First, they had regular access to sex from their early ’20s onward because the cultural norm at the time was to marry young.

    Second, the dramatic rise in the incidence of single motherhood has significantly reduced the desirability of a sizeable minority of the female population. It used to be that if a girl got pregnant, the father would marry her, taking both off the market. Nowadays they often don’t get married, which means that he’s still on the market and no worse for the wear, but she becomes much less desirable than before, and may go off the market entirely. The end result is a reduction in the supply of women and/or desirable women but no change in the demand, which is bad news for non-alphas.

  6. David Alexander says:

    I think that in many ways the sexual revolution has made things worse for non-alphas in absolute terms. First, they had regular access to sex from their early ’20s onward because the cultural norm at the time was to marry young.

    Despite being a sexless loser, I would rather have the modern era of the sexual revolution. I would rather take the risk on the chance of having hot, passionate sex with a hot woman, than having guaranteed, but boring sex with an unattractive woman. IMHO, it’s probably better to stay single than to court women who don’t meet one’s minimum level of attractiveness, and it certainly doesn’t help to court such women in a conservative sexual environment.

    Second, the dramatic rise in the incidence of single motherhood has significantly reduced the desirability of a sizeable minority of the female population

    Isn’t much of the rise in single motherhood mostly in the black population and the lower rungs of the white population? I would suspect that the current population of single mothers would never meet the standards of your average middle class male if those women were single.

  7. trumwill says:

    First, they had regular access to sex from their early ’20s onward because the cultural norm at the time was to marry young.

    It depends on one’s criteria, Brandon. I was thinking of amount of sex in numbers of partners, not numbers of instances. In that sense, they are ahead in absolute terms, though behind on subjective terms. I didn’t necessarily mean “better off” with all things included, though I’m not as convinced as Peter we’re in uniquely anti-non-alpha times.

    The end result is a reduction in the supply of women and/or desirable women but no change in the demand, which is bad news for non-alphas.

    Thinking aloud here, but might this be somewhat offset by a reduction of supply in worthwhile men? I’m not saying it is, but I’m not convinced it’s not. Something as simple as having a steady job, no criminal record, and being somewhat responsible is an asset when it comes to finding someone to marry. Such things may not help in the sex market, but they do in the relationship market which appears to be more what you’re looking at.

  8. trumwill says:

    The chicks-dig-jerks theme is nothing new, of course. Our great-great-great grandfathers probably had similar complaints. What does seem to be new, or new-ish at least, is the stark division of men into the Alpha and Beta (or Alpha, Beta and Omega) categories.

    Is it really a division of classes or is it the creation of a new class? Or perhaps the creation of an easier way to identify them. Now we can identify an alpha based on how much sex he has access to. Previously, when everyone was having less sex, there was less distinction on that front. Even those that were having sex were somewhat limited in their ability to broadcast it (though obviously not as limited as girls were). Now it’s all out there. Easier to keep tallies. Easier to identify.

    I guess what I’m not convinced of is that life is particularly difficult for “non-alphas”. I’ll grant you the pathological inverts but they are by definition exceedingly rare in the general population. My colleagues and I did not have a easy access to sex with desirable women. Yet most of us are married or engaged. Most of those that aren’t had the opportunity to at least once.

    I am really unconvinced that life has changed to make it so much more difficult for the bottom 80%. I think the biggest thing that has changed is expectations.

  9. Gannon says:

    I do not agree with your post. Sexual acces for the average man has worsened. By nature, women are only attracted to the top 20% of top men, whereas men are probably attracted to 75% of women. Like previous posters said, women used to be married off at 17-20 years old,therefore most men had access to nice young pussy. Nowadays instead most women will try out to get a alpha male (20%)of top population, and this is posible through serial polygamy and de facto polygamy. In other words, most women are sleeping with a minority of men. These women usually are only willing to settle when they are single mothers or approaching thirty, and settling for a woman whose most attractive years (14-27) is a weak consolation for most men. I improved my acces to sex throughb two ways:
    1. Numbers game: I used to focus on a few women, which is a huge mistake, becuase women are completely unpredictable. In order to succed with women you must talk to a lot of them. If your succes rate is only 10%, that means that you must cast your net wide. This is alos very important if you want to date a highschool girl above age of consent: Some girls will be a little freaked out if you approach them if you are over 20, but a few will be very charmed.
    2. Sports: in university by becoming a good atlethe my prestige increased and women started to become nicer and more interested in me, although I didn’t change as a person.

  10. Peter says:

    Second, the dramatic rise in the incidence of single motherhood has significantly reduced the desirability of a sizeable minority of the female population … The end result is a reduction in the supply of women and/or desirable women but no change in the demand, which is bad news for non-alphas.

    It could be argued that the increase in single motherhood has actually made things easier for significantly sub-Alpha men. Women with children tend to have more realistic standards and expectation than those without. Suzy Singlemom is less likely to hold out for an uber-Alpha, BWM-driving, NFL season ticket-owning hedge fund manager and might actually consider a nerdy, introverted sci-fi fan who works in IT (okay, I’m exaggerating for effect, but you get my point). A nerd who is willing to date single moms has access to a whole array of women who’d otherwise be out of his league.

    I guess what I’m not convinced of is that life is particularly difficult for “non-alphas”. I’ll grant you the pathological inverts but they are by definition exceedingly rare in the general population. My colleagues and I did not have a easy access to sex with desirable women. Yet most of us are married or engaged. Most of those that aren’t had the opportunity to at least once.

    My take is that the blogosphere has given a voice to the men who have little luck with women. We simply hear much more from them. At the same time, blogs have raised the public profile of pickup artists such as Roissy and Roosh, maing other men feel inferior.

  11. trumwill says:

    I do not agree with your post. Sexual access for the average man has worsened. By nature, women are only attracted to the top 20% of top men, whereas men are probably attracted to 75% of women.

    I see people throw around statistics like that, but either it isn’t true or it doesn’t have an determinative effect on who they will and will not have sex with. It is commonly accepted wisdom that men are less picky about who they will have sex with, but that’s the main category where we are. It doesn’t necessarily extend to girls that we would date exclusively, spend good money on V-Day flowers and chocolates, and so on.

    Few of my friends are in the top twenty, and yet most have had multiple sex partners. Before the sexual revolution that number likely would have been one… the girl that they married. Perhaps that would be preferable from a societal standpoint (or spiritual one or whatever), but if we’re looking at one’s access to sex with the most amount of people, which if you read between the lines is what HS commenters are often really complaining about, that has improved across most of the spectrum.

  12. Brandon Berg says:

    It depends on one’s criteria, Brandon. I was thinking of amount of sex in numbers of partners, not numbers of instances.

    Oh. In that case, I agree but question the relevance. For me, at least, number of partners is a distant third behind quality of partners and frequency.

  13. Brandon Berg says:

    Thinking aloud here, but might this be somewhat offset by a reduction of supply in worthwhile men?

    I’m not sure. Has there been a comparable reduction in the number of worthwhile men? Educational attainment is way up across the board–more college graduates, and fewer high school dropouts.

    On the other hand, it’s up even more for women, to the point where more women than men are graduating from college. Since college-educated women are likely to prefer to marry college-educated men, that’s a plus forr college-educated betas, but it comes at the expense of non-college-educated betas.

    I doubt that the number of worthless men has increased as much as the number of single mothers. On the other hand, a single mother is not necessarily worthless, so one worthless man can offset more than one single mother.

  14. trumwill says:

    Oh. In that case, I agree but question the relevance. For me, at least, number of partners is a distant third behind quality of partners and frequency.

    Hmmm. Well quality matters too, I think. If I were devising some point scheme, it would likely be a combination of how many girls and how hot they were. I’m not sure whether a woman being a mother would factor in that heavily, though.

    I should probably add a disclaimer here. The values I’m expressing here are not my own, but rather that of Maxim readers and many embittered guys that can’t get the kind of sex that they want.

    I doubt that the number of worthless men has increased as much as the number of single mothers. On the other hand, a single mother is not necessarily worthless, so one worthless man can offset more than one single mother.

    It’s also true that many of the single mothers were not of particularly high quality before they became such and would have lad less worth in any worthwhile model.

  15. Barry says:

    They all hung around together, which more or less supports my position that things were more of a spectrum until recent years. Today you’d never see a Fonzie-like pickup artist hanging around with a can’t-score-to-save-his-life nerd. They’d see themselves as practically different species.

    But whether they hung around with each other or not, it had no effect on what girls they picked up. Fonzie never had any trouble finding “chicks”. Richie never got any of Fonzie’s leftovers, and had his own problems. Potsie and Ralph never got Richie or Fonzie’s leftovers, either, and had more trouble with girls. (Though as an aside I always thought it interesting the girl Potsie ended up with was way, way hotter than Richie’s Lori Beth. Kind of like Barney Fife – an uber-Omega if there ever was one – ended up with the relatively hot Thelma Lou, and mister High-Beta Andy Taylor had to settle for dour, frumpy and aptly named Helen Crump. Go figure that.)

    settling for a woman whose most attractive years (14-27)

    Dude, whenever you float out those hot-young-14-yr-old-girls ideas, my stomach turns. I don’t care what cultures consider it honorable to marry a 5-yr-old, or how highly mature, fertile and nubile you continue to assert these young barely into teens girls are, it’s still disgusting. And I can’t imagine what I might say when my daughter gets to 14 and I’m reading stuff like this. I’m really happy your athleticism and suavity got you more sex, but I feel really sorry for the women.

  16. Gannon says:

    “And I can’t imagine what I might say when my daughter gets to 14 and I’m reading stuff like this”

    Actually, it will be much worse. Most guts up to the age of 35 like girls who are in their middteens. You will see a lot of older guys starring at the breasts and bottom of your daughter. You will have to get used to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

If you are interested in subscribing to new post notifications,
please enter your email address on this page.