Last Tuesday, The Federalist – a conservative news organization that seems to devote at least a third of its coverage to lamenting that women won’t sleep with them – decided to publish the hottest of hot takes: that women who refuse to give it up to conservatives are why Trump won.
And to be fair: he’s half-right. Women are, in fact, refusing to date or sleep with Trump voters. As it turns out, #MAGA is the ultimate anaphrodisiac; red hats are becoming the new “tiger pic” of Tinder. However, in getting things half right, author Jarrod Laber manages to be absurdly wrong at the same time. While others have covered the hot takes about why this is stupid, I would like to take a different angle. Laber is, indeed, correct that he and his cohorts are getting fingered by the invisible hand of the free meat market; however, he’s missing the point as to why.
But in missing that point, he presents a series of excellent reasons why certain men are having a hard time dating. Mostly by embodying all of them.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
You’re Trying To Date The Wrong People (Or: The Curious Case of Assortative Mating In The Night Time)
Laber posits that part of the reason for the rise of Trump isn’t just that women are performing some sort of Lysistrata-esque pork-out against white nationalists and their quislings… it’s that their refusal to consider conservative boners contributes to increased political polarity. The issue, Laber insists, is that people are dating folks whom they like.
No, for real. From his piece:
Assortative mating is when someone partners and starts a family with someone of a similar background. It can be based on innate characteristics, such as race and ethnicity, or socioeconomic backgrounds. People have always engaged in assortative mating of some kind or another, but as social scientist Charles Murray explains in his book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010,” there was a shift to a particular type of mating in the ‘60s which continues through the present day.
Now, it is nice that Laber references Charles “Blacks Are Inherently Less Intelligent Than Whites” Murray to let us know that our time of not taking him seriously is coming to a middle. It also ignores that one major reason why people of similar educational or socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to get together is that, like actors marrying other actors, these are the people they spend the most time with.
But one of his key arguments – that our dating people who are similar to us is a bad thing – falls a bit flat. The idea that “opposites attract” really only works with magnets.
In reality: we tend to be attracted to people who are similar to us. Shared values, goals and backgrounds are part of what bring us together. If you’ve ever watched two people form an instant friendship over, say, a mutual love of Chris Claremont-era X-Men comics or have a mutual geek-out over Supernatural, you’ve seen this in action. We love finding people who we feel understand us; it makes us feel validated and appreciated and – most importantly, makes us feel good. If we’re presented with a choice between someone who makes us feel good about ourselves and someone who wants to insist, say, that we have an obligation to change somebody’s mind by fucking them, then we’re far more likely to choose the former. This is what’s known as The Reward Theory of Attraction – we instinctively prioritize relationships with people who make us feel gratified when we’re around them.
Part of the argument – that liberal women have some sort of obligation to bridge the sex gap – falls rather short when you consider this part of Laber’s argument:
In 2014, the Pew Research Center conducted a study on this issue and found 43 percent of Republicans had a “very unfavorable view” of Democrats, up from 17 percent in 1994.
Again, consider the idea of the Reward Theory of Attraction based against this. 43% of Republicans really don’t like Democrats. Why then, in pluperfect Hell, would there be any motivation for Democrats to mercy-fuck people who hate them?
In fact, that leads us to the next reason why many men have problems finding women who won’t date them:
You’re Fundamentally Incompatible
One of the greatest indicators of the likelihood of a relationship’s success or failure, at its core, is how compatible they are. And while it’s tempting to define this as “we like all the same things,” compatibility has far more to do with shared expectations and values than it does with hobbies.
Take, for example, the topic of religion. On the surface, differing religious views seem like a relatively minor obstacle to overcome: you believe in what you believe, your partner believes in what they believe and as long as you two don’t come to blows over it, it’s all good. However, in practice, it doesn’t always work that way. What you both believe is a surface issue. How it will affect your relationship goes deeper. What will you do about children? Whose faith will you raise them in? What about if you have differing views on sex? Or marriage?
Again: if you don’t have strong beliefs, it’s easy to say “both” or “neither” and assume your kid will sort it out in time. However, for many people, sharing your faith with your children is incredibly important – and if you disagree on how to raise them, this becomes a ticking timebomb in your happiness. So, for that matter, is the issue of community. Your snugglebunny may be cool with your being a proud hellbound heathen… but what about their parents? Their friends? Their community? Again: it’s easy to say “fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke”… until you’re the one dealing with the constant disapproval of literally everyone important in your life.
Now you’re in the position of having to decide between your entire family and friends… or the one person who may be the reason why you never talk to them again.
This division in values continues to things like political affiliation… or, for that matter, being pro- or anti-choice.
In fact, the causus belli for Laber’s complaint about liberal women is the fact that OKCupid lets you see if your potential partner is cool with Planned Parenthood:
The popular dating website OkCupid announced Wednesday that it would make the online dating scene a little easier for progressives who can’t risk interacting with someone with whom they disagree (imagine the horror!). They announced a partnership with Planned Parenthood that allows site users to put a badge on their profile signifying support for the nation’s largest abortion provider, much the way Facebook becomes saturated with similar kinds of profile pictures during the newest disaster.
Considering that most couples will be having sex, and pregnancy is one of the risks accompanied with sexual activity, it makes sense that one would want to know in advance whether the two of you are on the same page about reproductive rights. It isn’t just a theoretical issue, or something that only affects lazy or inattentive couples. Condoms break, IUDs shift, birth control pills can be affected by many things including food and, sometimes, shit just happens. One of the keys to making a relationship work is to know in advance what your pregnancy plan is. After all, the last time you want to find out that your partner is firmly anti-choice is when you’re trying to find an open pharmacy that can give you Plan B.
It’s easy for Laber to snort with derision about how this is “causing people to see an opposing viewpoint as an all-out assault on their personhood”, but that’s literally what this is for many people. With the number of states that seem to think that The Handmaid’s Tale is a good start, it’s a little understandable why someone might not want to scramble their DNA with someone who thinks that every sperm is sacred and is willing to back that belief up with legislation. And with the number of people who are either queer themselves or have LGBTQ friends and family, it’s not unreasonable to prefer to date people who will reaffirm the basic humanity of their loved ones.
But while we’re at it:
You Think Attraction Is Someone Else’s Responsibility
One of the things that’s significant about Laber’s screed is who he’s directing it towards: women. Presumably liberal women who… also read The Federalist? Because they think that’s a thing?
The whole thing is a finger-wag at women for not reaching across the great divide for some GOP dick. Why? Because… well, there really isn’t a reason why women are supposed to find this an appealing argument other than the “give me what I want or I shoot the hostage” headline. From the article:
Assortative mating serves to intensify this polarization. It amplifies an already significant ingroup-outgroup mentality around contentious social issues. Social and cultural issues create severe disagreement because they trigger the emotional part of the brain: the disagreement challenges a core part of group identity. This is exactly the type of schism that an arrogant demagogue like Trump exploits.
What you may notice, however, is a lack of anything resembling a compelling argument as to why liberal women should be dating conservatives. The closest it gets to an argument is, I shit you not, saying that not dating conservatives is “virtue signalling.”
If a progressive doesn’t want to date a conservative and vice versa, that’s perfectly fine. Everyone has deal-breakers. But as a political protest, this form of virtue-signaling is counterproductive in the long run.
As with other polemics within the Federalist “But Why Won’t They Date Us” genre, the entire argument is “well, you should fuck us because REASONS”. There is no exhortation to the Federalist audience to actually do things that might make them more appealing to women, liberal women in particular. Considering that one reason for assortative mating is because people of similar backgrounds and interests spend the most time together, one would think that Laber might suggest that his readers learn how to spend more time in those liberal spaces. And yet, he doesn’t.
Nor does Laber ask for his audience to understand why NFL stars are taking a knee before the national anthem. There’s no explanation that conservatives may want to read a book that doesn’t involve Ayn Rand, to learn to cook a delicious meal, or play guitar. There’s not even a pseudo-financial explanation that charity and altruism increase one’s value in the “sexual marketplace” and perhaps volunteering at the local pet shelter might spur women to overlook their chortling over “Grab ’em by the pussy” jokes.
Instead, the onus is put on women to do the work. The men showed up in the first place, and so they’ve done their part; now women have to come across.
One of the underlying themes of Laber’s complaints about assortative mating is that this came about because of the increase in rights and opportunities for women. Throughout history, as women and men came closer to economic parity1, marriage became less about “is he a good provider” and far more about “does he have qualities that mean I would want to spend my life with him?” And for many men, this is frequently a step too far.
This attitude, unfortunately, is hardly uncommon. A surprising number of men steadfastly refuse to do more than the bare minimum and expect any prospective partner to do the rest of the work. “I’ve done exactly as much as I’m going to do and doing any more is unfair,” they cry. And then, when those dates don’t magically appear, they complain that women are being too demanding and should “give us sex, dammit,” which works about as well as you might expect.
Not only is this attitude not terribly subtle, it’s also not attractive. Women on the whole tend to not be attracted to guys who believe they’re entitled to a relationship without putting in the work to be worth dating. If you’re unwilling to do what it takes to be appealing to women, that’s your call. You do you, my dude. You’re welcome to demand that women lower their standards to include you, for all the good it will do. But you have to realize that it’s also going to be a primary reason why women won’t want to date you.
But let’s drill down to the argument of “you didn’t fuck me so Trump won…”
You’re Kind of A Horrible Person
One major reason why women don’t want to date Laber or his friends has everything to do with the fact that it’s rather clear that Laber doesn’t actually like women. He may think they’re desirable. He may believe that women make life worth living. But it’s impossible to escape the impression he neither likes nor respects them. Not when his argument ultimately boils down to the fact that men are evidently willing to vote for Trump because liberal women won’t fuck their pain away. If women were more willing to give it up, they might have moderated their views and voted for… I dunno, Ted Cruz or something.
At the end of the day, however, it’s still a case of “give us the pussy or else”. It’s a threat, one that’s ultimately not that far off from Elliot Roger or his ilk: “we aren’t getting what we want, therefore we’re justified in what we’ll do in revenge.”
And that, more than anything else, is an amazing indicator of why women don’t want to date him or his friends: because that’s a fucking horrifying attitude to have. Treating sex as something that you have to be given or who knows what may happen is the mark of someone who, frankly, is kind of awful. It’s the sort of argument that gets made by the incel community or Men Going Their Own Way:
It’s not terribly surprising that MGTOW’s don’t do well on the dating market or why so many incels find themselves, well, celibate. Nobody is remotely interested in having sex with someone who thinks that they’re beyond contempt. And despite what many people will tell you: that attitude is incredibly difficult to hide or cover up. Case in point:
It’s hard to imagine why someone who thinks like that is single. Once you’ve reached the point where you’re treating somebody’s sexuality – or, for that matter, progressive beliefs – as something being done at you instead of as part of who they are, you’ve begun the process of assuring that you will be single for a very long time. This sort of attitude is going to eke out into everything they do or say.
Now a lot of people aren’t at the point of labeling people Chads and Stacies or roasties2 , but that selfishness, that disregard for others, is more common than one would like. And to be fair: sometimes it comes from sheer loneliness. Studies have found that isolation and loneliness actually causes us to become more selfish, self-involved and contemptuous. Unless you’re willing to confront your own attitudes and beliefs and retrain your brain, you are going to push away the very people you’re hoping to connect with.
If You Want People To Want to Date You, You Have To Put In The Work
It’s understandable to be frustrated when you’re single. There will be times when it seems like women on the whole have decided that they’d rather adopt all the cats than date you. It will make you angry. There will be times when you want to scream with the sheer unfairness of it all.
But “fairness” has nothing to do with dating, or attraction. It’s not about everything being equal, it’s about having the things that people want in a partner. And despite all of Laber’s mealy-mouthed protests that “well, sure, you don’t have to date someone you don’t like”, railing about how X is a consequence of “not doing what I want” isn’t going to get you there. Nor is fantasizing about scenarios where women will “have” to give you what you want.
I have nothing but sympathy for people who have a hard time dating. My job is literally to help people get the results they want. But there can’t be any progress without self-examination, self-awareness and self-improvement. At the end of the day, when it comes to dating, you have to put in the work. And I’m not going to lie: it very well may be a lot of work. But it’s your choice whether the work is worth doing or not.
Like Laber, you’re welcome to complain about how it’s unreasonable for women to have standards that you don’t fit into. But you would do better to examine your own demands, your own “must haves” and what you have to offer in exchange.
And no amount of finger-wagging, antagonistic red-pill bullshit, snide comments or even veiled threats are going to change that.
The success you want is out there. You just have to be the one to find the strength within you to reach it.