How can you tell me how much you miss me
When the last time I saw you, you wouldn’t even kiss me
That rich guy you’ve been seein’ must have put you down
So welcome back baby, to the poor side of town

To him you were nothin’ but a little plaything
Not much more than an overnight fling
To me you were the greatest thing this boy had ever found
And, girl, it’s hard to find nice things on the poor side of town
Johnny Rivers, “The Poor Side of Town”

Pterodactyl wrote a post I commented on a little while back. She clarified her meaning in the comments:

The post also considers the parallel case of hypergamy on the part of men, both in culture and history. The observation is that while male hypergamy has the element of the aspirational (seeking to date/marry up), it also has a strong element of the aspersional (casting aspersions and worse, e.g. ill-treatment, on lower-economic-status females).

For men and women both, the nature of what we are attracted to can be mysterious. I’ve often stated that the degree to which looks matter is understated in women and overstated in men. I was going to elaborate on that, but apparently I already have. And I can definitely buy that economic status is something that is understated in male preference. I do have a couple of caveats on that, though. First, while it’s understated for men I don’t think – for reasons that could be purely social conditioning – it is as big an issue for men as it is for women. I know, I know, I’m a guy married to a doctor. And I’m a guy that broke the heart of a girl who spent her first fourteen years in a trailer park. But I’m not a typical guy. And, if we’re willing to use education as a proxy for status, there is some backing on this*:

Our results show that educational homophily is the dominant mechanism in online mate choice. Similarity in education significantly increases the rate of both sending and replying to initial contacts. After controlling for the opportunity structure on the platform, the preference for similar educated others is the most important factor, particularly among women. Our results also support the exchange theoretical idea that homophily increases with educational level. If dissimilarity contacting patterns are found, women are highly reluctant to contact partners with lower educational qualifications. Men, in contrast, do not have any problems to contact lower-qualified women. Studies of educational homogamy generally show that couples where women have a higher level of education are rare. Our study demonstrates that this is mainly the result of women’s reluctance to contact lower qualified men.

This also has ramifications for how women blame male bias against intelligence for their dating woes the same way that guys blame female bias against niceness. But anyway…

This is one of those things where I suspect that the filtering against women of lower economic status happens for ostensibly other reasons. I didn’t care that Julianne was raised in a trailer park. I did care, though, that neither she nor her family had an iota of fiscal responsibility. But the two were probably not unrelated. There have been other cases where I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason, but it turned out to be a basic incompatibility (not wholly unrelated to the different environments in which we grew up) or intelligence (which links to other things).

Of course, I speak of this as a male from the “upper middle class.” Sheila, who comes at this as a woman from the working class, has an entirely different perspective. So there is, at least, a contingent of guys that are looking to really trade up even at the expense of things that guys are “supposed” to be interested in. It’s possible that it’s something that women of means run into above and beyond whistling construction workers.

Of course, perhaps the most important thing from the Bakadesuyo cite is the fact that educational homophily is preferred across the board. This suggests that at least as far as education goes (and likely, by extension, social class) most people are most comfortable where they are. This makes sense to me. I never really got the sense that my education and my job were a real selling point among women that I would have thought it might be since it would be a chance at a middle class life and all. In a vacuum, maybe it would be so, but in the real life the end result is different interest, different ways of communicating, and overall incompatibility. What would Cinderella and the Prince really have to talk about?

On a sidenote, this all refers to traditional hypergamy, which is in reference to socio-economic status. A lot of what Alpha Theorists are talking about involves something somewhat different, which is sexual status, which is determined by such factors as testosterone and sexual worldliness. And the type of hypergamy that Ptero points to with regard to men has as much to do with sexual status as well, specifically in the domain of looks and non-single-motherhood.

Related link.

* – I hate to blockquote nearly the whole post, but it’s kind of necessary for context. If you’re not reading Bakadesuyo, you should be. I have to prevent myself from simply linking to what he writes every day.


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14 Responses to The Poor Side of Town

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    Male hypergamy seems to be more of a thing at the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum. Well, for a sufficiently broad definition of “gamy.”

    So there is, at least, a contingent of guys that are looking to really trade up even at the expense of things that guys are “supposed” to be interested in.

    I was tempted to say that it doesn’t have to be “at the expense of,” but decided that I was being unfairly cynical. On the other hand, perhaps cynicism is undervalued as a tool of cognition:

    “According to the study, which examined 18- to 28-year-old married and cohabitating respondents who were in the same relationship for more than a year, men who were completely dependent on their female partner’s income were five times more likely to cheat than men who contributed an equal amount of money to the partnership.”

    Which makes sense. Women strongly prefer to marry up, and aren’t likely to marry or cohabit with a deadbeat unless a) they have very limited options due to not being particularly desirable themselves, and b) he brings something to the table in terms of sex appeal. Which means that he has both the motive and opportunity to cheat.

  2. trumwill says:

    I was tempted to say that it doesn’t have to be “at the expense of,” but decided that I was being unfairly cynical.

    I am a believer that, generally speaking, when you’re angling to trade up on one thing, you’re likely making sacrifices on anther. Sheila Tone has commented about guys trading up SES but accepting pudgy or bossy (or otherwise unpleasant) personalities.

    On the other hand, perhaps cynicism is undervalued as a tool of cognition

    Then again…:
    The relationship between economic dependence and infidelity disappeared when age, education level, income, religious attendance, and relationship satisfaction were taken into account.

    I wish that they would look at the first four factors independently since the last couple be related to the income disparity, but I’d imagine that simple demographics do play a pretty big role in things. When the men are completely dependent on their spouses for incomes, it’s much more likely to involve a financially struggling family.

  3. Black and Blue Man says:

    (Clicks link to Bakadesuyo)

    (Several minutes later, bookmarks Bakadesuyo and returns)

    Damn it, Will! 🙂

  4. SFG says:

    “I am a believer that, generally speaking, when you’re angling to trade up on one thing, you’re likely making sacrifices on anther. Sheila Tone has commented about guys trading up SES but accepting pudgy or bossy (or otherwise unpleasant) personalities.”

    Makes sense. I think there’s even an economical principle that describes this–what’s it called again?

    As for bias against intelligence, it’s probably the hierogamous principle operating both ways–men are reluctant to marry a woman who’s smarter than them, and at the upper end, smart women, particularly those with not much else to recommend them (and thus more of their self-esteem invested in their IQ), can’t respect a guy who’s dumber than them.

  5. Mike Hunt says:

    If you’re not reading Bakadesuyo, you should be.

    Meh. I wasn’t impressed. Not enough commentary.

  6. trumwill says:

    I’m just as happy without the commentary. Just the info, ma’am.

  7. trumwill says:

    As for bias against intelligence, it’s probably the hierogamous principle operating both ways–men are reluctant to marry a woman who’s smarter than them, and at the upper end, smart women, particularly those with not much else to recommend them (and thus more of their self-esteem invested in their IQ), can’t respect a guy who’s dumber than them.

    I would modify that to say that there are more women that would prefer or accept women dumber than they are than their are men that would prefer or accept women smarter than they are. The other way for women. Segments of the population can really throw the aggregates off. I don’t think, by virtue of my having married a woman smarter than myself, I am some bizarre exception. Nor my wife for marrying a guy dumber than she.

  8. Mike Hunt says:

    I am embarrassed to say that I have never heard of Johnny Rivers until I read this post. Looking at his bio, I have heard of “his” songs; I just didn’t know he sang them. I put “his” in quotes since he didn’t write any of “his” songs.

    ===

    Just the info, ma’am.

    You have a generous definition of “info”. The motto of Bakadesuyo should be: A little wheat, lots of chaff…

    ===

    I don’t think, by virtue of my having married a woman smarter than myself, I am some bizarre exception.

    Just once, I would love for a man to say: boy my wife is as dumb as they come. That sentence has never been uttered publicly. Once a man got tired of his wife thinking she was smarter than him. She was getting her oil changed, so he disconnected the horn and told his wife that the car was running low on “honk” and to have the grease monkey add a quart of it. Boy was she pissed when she got home…

  9. trumwill says:

    I am embarrassed to say that I have never heard of Johnny Rivers until I read this post. Looking at his bio, I have heard of “his” songs; I just didn’t know he sang them. I put “his” in quotes since he didn’t write any of “his” songs.

    It was the opposite for me. I knew who he was, but I didn’t know this song was his. I just knew that the Eels were covering somebody, so I looked it up. He actually got co-writing credits for it.

    You have a generous definition of “info”. The motto of Bakadesuyo should be: A little wheat, lots of chaff…

    I don’t read the stuff that I don’t find interesting. I actually rarely go over to the blog and start reading, like with most blogs. I follow it on Twitter and the RSS on my phone and read every third post or so. Fortunately, the titles give you a very clear idea of what the post is about.

    Just once, I would love for a man to say: boy my wife is as dumb as they come. That sentence has never been uttered publicly.

    Any man that utters that statement publicly has likely just proven it to be false.

  10. Mike Hunt says:

    Regarding Johnny Rivers…

    The local oldies station here is WCBS-FM, which is a legendary station. However, they figure that if you are listening to the station, you know the titles and artists, so the DJs don’t tell them to you. They make an exception when they are explicitly doing a countdown, but that is a small minority of the time.

    For example, I always liked “The Breakup Song”, but I didn’t know who sang it. For years I thought it was Tom Petty. Then one day I heard the song on XM and it says Greg Kihn Band?!? WTF I always thought GKB was a one hit wonder. At that point I had to remove them from the one hit wonder list.

  11. trumwill says:

    I’ve had that happen to me, too. Someone I think is a one-hit wonder becomes a two-hit wonder.

    You have XM? Why? What do you think of it? We considered getting it, but determined that it’s easier just to use MP3 CDs.

  12. Mike Hunt says:

    You have XM? Why? What do you think of it?

    I had XM up until their merger with Sirius. I got it in October 2004 for the sole purpose of listening to Opie and Anthony, which was a popular FM radio show in NYC until their firing in August 2002. They eventually added other talk shows such as Ron and Fez and had commercial-free music stations programmed by genre (i.e. 60s on channel 6). Since I was never one to pay for music, having these stations at my fingertips was a blessing.

    However, it started to go downhill once the merger happened. The company started to nickel and dime its customers, going against the spirit of the merger agreement. There was also much more advertising on the talk stations and much more talking on the music stations. While this may have made the company more profitable, it also made it a poor value for me. In the last five years, there has been an explosion in the number of podcasts to download and there are plenty of places online that have free internet radio. That’s why I no longer subscribe.

    The tl;dr version: XM was a great value, SiriusXM not so much…

  13. trumwill says:

    The advertising on the talk shows I can understand. The talking on the music stations is more puzzling. They do that on the “local” stations here, which is really pretty dumb because they’re obviously piping in talkers from elsewhere*. It’s one thing when you can add some local flavor (as they did in Colosse), it’s another when it’s just some guy talking. On the other hand, the 30-second-humor spots are okay. Not that it really matters, since I so rarely listen to the radio.

    * – Not all of it, though. Or at least one of my favored stations (a classic rock one) is out of Redstone, since they have segments on Redstone history.

  14. stone says:

    SFG! I was just wondering the other day where you’d gone.

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