The Econoholic came out of hiding to write a post about George Sodini. My favorite clip:

Can we really not add 1 and 1 and find that we get 11? Yet, versions of this very same spiel exist on the blogs of self-proclaimed betas all over the internet. Guys who know how to expertly solder while they eat their cornflakes in their underwear can’t figure out why women can’t look past the complete hatred they have for them and just {fornicate with} them for free. After all, they aren’t too ugly or two weird.

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9 Responses to Econoholic Sighting!

  1. Peter says:

    First Sodini thread I’ve seen in weeks. Anyway, many people have remarked that Sodini was remarkably young and fit-looking for age 48. That, I surmise, was his downfall. He thought because of his appearance he’d be able to get hot women in their early 20’s, a mistaken notion because despite his fit and youthful appearance he was, after all, 48 years old. Had he not looked so good he might have aimed his sights a bit lower at more appropriate women, for example 30-something single mothers, and probably would have had much better luck.

  2. trumwill says:

    I think tha ta lot of people jumped the gun on his appearance. He was fit, but the clearer the picture the less impressive his appearance was.

    I should also add that men don’t need to be good-looking or fit to believe that they should be able to finagle a hot 20-something. And most men (and women, for that matter) that are the most fit and good-looking are more likely than not to date within socially acceptable parameters (in terms of age and other factors). Those that tend to buck dating norms most tend to be those with the least dating experience (so they don’t have any idea what they should expect) and those with the fewest options in the socially acceptable stable.

    As I think Sheila pointed out, most of the time when you’re looking at marriages where one partner is substantially older than the other, you’re not looking at winners. The millionaires and celebrities with trophy spouses are higher profile, but swamped by people that are not generally flush with desirable options.

  3. ? says:

    Guys who know how to expertly solder while they eat their cornflakes in their underwear . . .

    Okay, but how many guys do we know that actually match (or admit to matching) this description? Have we recently increased production of this type of guy?

  4. ? says:

    More generally, here is what bothers me:

    Do you remember the essay you wrote when you were interviewing at Mindstorm? Your initial impression was that the interview had gone poorly — so poorly, in fact, that you expected not to be hired. Yet you were, and in retrospect identified the aspects of the interview that had gone well. Bobvis himself wrote a post commenting on this, and pointed out a variant of the post hoc fallacy: once we know the outcome of something, it is easy to find the “causes” of that something. Which is very different from making a prediction.

    Yet Econoholic is (understandably, but still) guilty of this same fallacy. Now that he is getting married (congratulations again), he can point back to this or that change in attitude as helping to bring him to this point. I’m not saying he’s wrong, and in fact his experience mirrors my own in some respects. But neither of us are the best judges of our cases.

    And neither are women, necessarily. If a woman is attracted or not attracted to a man, it is easy to find some socially acceptable reason. No man is perfect, and no man is utterly without redeeming qualities. So either way it breaks, a woman can find a reason for it.

    Likewise, imagine an alternative universe where Sodini had gotten married instead of going apesh!t. Would we all not point to his above-average physical condition and intelligence, reasonably successful career, gentle and conscientious personality as having been the keys to his success? (Granted, if he had married a girl in her twenties, we would have been surprised — but then such pairings are always remarkable.) But knowing the outcome, it is easy to say, well, he wasn’t all that successful, attractive, sociable, etc.

  5. trumwill says:

    Okay, but how many guys do we know that actually match (or admit to matching) this description?

    That precise description? Well, none. But there are a lot of men out there that have mad skillz in areas completely uninteresting to women. Men out there whose interests are mostly alien to women but the intensity of whose interest far surpasses that of interest in “male activities” from yesteryear.

    Have we seen more of that? Quite likely so. The fragmentation of American culture has allowed more and more people to take a greater interest in the minutae of things that few others (male or female) care about. The Internet allows these people to congregate. The social and information structures allow people to avoid broadening their interest into more conventional things. Further, it allows people to find communities of people that share the same perceptions. This can magnify the presence of certain groups of people that used to be more on the fringes. It can further close minds by confirming biases formed with lack of exposure to (among other groups) the opposite sex.

    All of this makes me so extremely glad that I found Camelot BBS. Before Camelot BBS, I knew very few female-types. Of course, when I first found it I congregated with proto-Sigmoids and we groused together and confirmed one another’s prejudices about how uninterested girls were in anybody that wasn’t popular and a jock and how women like bad boys.

    But then a funny thing started happening. I started to get to know girls. And not just girls that I wanted to partner up with. That last part is pretty key because if I wanted to partner up with them and they didn’t want to partner up with me that only would have gone to prove what I’d previously believed. But by getting to know the girls on their own terms, I was able to better understand where they were coming from. The antagonism didn’t entirely go away (and in some ways, despite my regular defense of them here and elsewhere, still hasn’t entirely), but it forced me to separate females into the ones that I knew and appreciated and the ones that were so stupid as to barely acknowledge my existence. Eventually, the cognitive dissonance expired and I realized that they weren’t all that different at all. The main difference was exposure. A hat tip to those that lowered themselves to expose themselves to me (figuratively speaking, of course), but as much of that came to personality type and social status than did actual temperament. There were guys that – absent physical attraction or romantic interest – these girls didn’t want to expose themselves to (the physically repulsive, the obscene, the wildly immature, etc) just as I reluctantly came to admit that there were girls out there that I was not very enthusiastic about getting to know.

    And this was all in the land of ones and zeroes, where looks and panache theoretically took on less rather than greater importance.

  6. trumwill says:

    His experience mirrors that of a lot of people.

    I ran across a fascinating piece on mathematics and spouse selection. It included this little tidbit:

    There is a small word of warning, however. Some psychologists, such as JoNell Strough at West Virginia University, believe that the more we invest (in a gambling and, one supposes, marriage context), the more likely our decision will be attached to disaster.

    This presumes that one has a choice of partners greater than one, but I think it holds true for the hunt as well as the decision. The more determined you are to find someone, the harder it is to make it happen. The more missteps you make with someone with whom things could have worked out. The more likely you are to line up in the wrong line. This is certainly my experience. The best choices are made on the periphery. That’s one reason why I think Internet dating has a worse track record than cases where people meet casually without the expectation of romance.

    It’s quite possible that had Sodini married when he was within his twenties or when he was thirty that he would have settled down into a nice life. I would suggest that it’s more possible that he would have screwed up his marriage and ended up bitter for a different set of reasons. Maybe bitter and violent, shooting up a law office because he got his clock cleaned in the divorce settlement.

    At some point, you have to say “That you had a tough life” does not excuse or explain one’s behavior. Many a petty or violent criminal, had they been raised in a household where their physical and emotional needs were being met, never would have turned to a life of crime. It would have had less appeal. The petty rewards would have been less significant. It’s rarely the case that these people would have grown up to be rocket scientists, but a better life (for them, but also for potential victims) could have been possible. At the same time, though, we can’t approach crime through that prysm. We’re limited in what we can do for people in terms of good parents and good homes. Likewise, we’re limited in what we can do for people that start off socially awkward and enter a self-reinforcing circle of bitterness.

    There comes a point where you have to approach them for who they are, not who they might have been had their background been a little bit (or a lot) different. The most dangerous thing for a man that hits thirty with limited dating experience is not feminism or female choice in mate selection. It’s bitterness. It’s an inability or unwillingness to learn how to approach women, learn which women to approach, and so on.

    “Give Sodini a chance!” is about as abysmal a rallying cry for the romantically disposed as I can imagine. Sodini went off the tracks a long time before. Effect, as Holic points out, became cause. Many men who went through what Sodini went through in terms of isolation and rejection turned out just fine. With only a couple notable exceptions, the guys I hung out with that underwent isolation themselves either got married or had the chance to. So in that vein, either (a) Sodini was in a far worse place than we were or (b) Sodini did not make the appropriate corrections.

    You make a good point about post-hoc. It’s possible that Holic could have made his changes and I could have made mine and nothing would have come of it. But that’s really not my experience, first-hand or second-hand. For whatever reason, the tide changes in one’s mid-to-late twenties. The biggest threat to reaping the benefits of that tide changing is bitterness and the inability to actually approach female-types and ask them out.

  7. rob says:

    Trumwill, I hope you aren’t regretting giving me positive feedback yet. I left this comment over at econoholics too:

    Hi Econoholic, welcome back if you’re back. If you aren’t, congrats for moving more of your life into real life.

    “Can we really not add 1 and 1 and find that we get 11?”
    You mean 10, right? There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who can count in binary, and those who can’t.”

    Interestingly, most of Econoholic Nongame is pickup. Some of the reasoning behind them is different, the behavior is pretty much the same.

    Indifference: PUAs say it’s because alphas have enough options that they don’t much care about any one woman, so indifference signals alpha. Bastidge says it’s because indifferent guys are less threatening than love at first sight three times a day guys. It allows room to interact with lower pressure. It could also help because ‘prescreen rejection doesn’t hurt.

    All my interactions with women were agenda-less. Now that I was comfortable being single…

    Mystery says to build comfort or rapport before trying to build attraction. Hardly matters if there’s some evopsych explanation or not. At least if someone’s comfortable with you, they’ll pass on a relationship politely. less ego crushing.

    I could just try to live my single life and follow my single interests.

    Comes under ‘be interesting,’ ‘have a life,’ and pursue your passions.

    This isn’t angry-misogynist-fantasy-on-the-internet game, but you were doing a fair amount of the mystery method. Every point in your 1-5 list in his book. Don’t think someone who hasn’t reciprocated a fair amount of interest is “the One.” Interact with more women, etc.

    “Game” isn’t magic, largely it’s just changing some bad habits, interacting with women, finding a lifestyle that works for you. Someone said, I think it was relationship advice for women, that you should look for someone to share your life with, not someone who to fill a void.

    People who can’t learn or do mystery/econohlic game likely have underlying problems. Most people ‘learn’ it by trial and error, instead of seminars, date a while and settle down. People who get really good at it, they are probably trying to fill a void.

  8. trumwill says:

    Rob, you’re absolutely right. There is a lot of worthwhile information in The Game and the philosophy underpinning it. I think that turning it into an actual system can cause more harm than good, but there’s a lot of plain common sense in there. It’s something I learned without the book and developed an alternative theory that explained things in a similar fashion. More cynical than Holic’s theory, but less cynical than the Game’s acolytes.

    The problem I have with The Game is that people take it beyond its usefulness and use it to justify some pretty misogynistic thinking. It’s sort of like that movie about that girl who reads a book about how to treat/train a puppy (affection, positive reinforcement, etc) and uses it on her boyfriend. Use it to the extent that it helps, but don’t actually start looking at your boyfriend as a puppy.

  9. econoholic says:

    >Now that he is getting married (congratulations again),
    >he can point back to this or that change in attitude as
    >helping to bring him to this point. I’m not saying he’s
    >wrong, and in fact his experience mirrors my own in
    >some respects.

    Phi, you bring up a great point here, but if both of us have had this experience, then it does lend more credibility to it. Also, my wife wasn’t the only one I noticed being attracted to me after the change. I had 0 instances before and many afterwards. And this was despite the fact that I got older and balder.

    >imagine an alternative universe where Sodini had
    >gotten married instead of going apesh!t. Would we all
    >not point to his above-average physical condition and
    > intelligence, reasonably successful career, gentle
    >and conscientious personality as having been the keys
    >to his success?

    No, I wouldn’t have. The reason is that it assumes a status-model that seems to exist only on the Internet. The actual real dating market is not an efficient one in which the high-status individuals get the prettiest, youngest girls. Instead, location, chance, and attitude are the dominant factors. Things like the quality of your career matter, but take a look at the studies and notice that we aren’t talking about correlations of 1. On another blog, I remember posting several charts of different graphs. Even a correlation coefficient of 0.4 is extremely noisy. And that is a fantastically high one in the social sciences. It is rarely observed.

    Rob, FYI, I responded to your comment back on ‘holic.

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