Friday, March 26, 2010

On Meeting Your Heroes

I think I spent upwards of four hours today trying to track down a specific favorite quote that's been coming up in conversation a lot recently.

The line in question came from my favorite non-fiction writer, Chuck Klosterman, and went something to the effect of this:

"If you want a date with a single woman, you have to seem better than not only every other man she knows, but every man she could potentially meet between now and your date. If you want to date a woman who is already in a relationship, you only have to be better than one."

Now, I don't necessarily ascribe to this theory. Obviously.

However, that doesn't prevent me from admitting that this is absolutely, 100% true and there's nothing anyone can do about it. It's true. It's brilliant. It's one of the few a priori statements in the dating world. It is an axiom undeniable in itself but terrifying in its implications. The things someone completely amoral could do with this kind of knowledge are the stuff of brutal Nordic drinking songs.

And after four hours this was the actual quote I found:

"If you are a weird-looking dude (which I am) and you want to date exclusively beautiful women (which I did), the key is to pursue beautiful women who are already in relationships. Let's say you live in Omaha, and you meet a hot single woman who is actively dating lots of different guys. In order to win her affection, you have to be more desirable than every other single guy in Omaha. It's you against everybody. However, let's say you meet a hot woman who is dating Kenneth, a hard-working Nebraskan haberdasher. This situation is way, way easier; now, you merely have to be more desirable than Kenneth. It's you against him. However, what I've slowly come to realize is that I was not convincing these women to like me, which is what I thought at the time; I was merely convincing them that staying faithful to Kenneth (or to any person) was unreasonable. I wasn't seducing them in any real context. I was simply eroding their morality."

Granted, it's funny in a different way, but it's still funny. However it's also long-winded, employs hypothetical leaps and contains a moral denunciation of utilizing the strategy for personal gain.

But the real kick in the teeth is it's not the quote I thought it was.


  1. I'd have to say the logic here is flawed. If this axiom applies to every straight male, then it must also apply to the male that a woman is currently dating. Thus, that man has already proved himself more capable than the anyone else; to one-up him is to effectively one-up everyone + him.

    Let's have "U" represent you, "M" represent a woman's boyfriend, and "A" represent all other potential men.

    In your axiom, you are successful in winning a single woman when U > A. That's fair enough.
    But to say that stealing a taken woman is achieved when U > M is not going far enough; in actuality, U > M > A.

  2. You're not translating to logical symbolism correctly.

    The original language states that a man must not actually be better than everyone else, but merely seem better to that woman, and even then only temporarily.

    A better expression of what you're suggesting would be to include a logical operator for "seems to be greater than"–say "¿"–and then apply that to U & M and U & A in separate statements, since they only apply to D(ating) S(ingle women) and T(aken women) at different times.

    More simply, you could simply arrange it as an If/Then statement, with H being "I seem greater than Him," and E being "I seem greater than everone else."

    So: ((S^E)v(T^H))¬D

    /∆ for us to be Dating, either she is Single and I seem better that Everyone else, OR she is Taken and I seem better than Him. This statement is also logically true if we are already Dating, in which case I don't necessarily have to seem better than anyone.



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