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Sour Grapes

March 24, 2012

Nerdy engineering types love this graphic, which is supposed to represent a man’s options on the dating market:

It’s modelled on this graphic, which addresses the challenges of engineering proper:

There may be some truth to both of these graphics, but the truths are quite different. The truth in the second graphic is that there are genuine, inherent trade-offs between these goods. For example, to finish a building faster, you can sacrifice quality or hire more workers.

Not so with the first graphic. There is no inherent trade-off between looks, intelligence, and stability in women. These desirable traits are actually positively correlated. An intelligent, stable woman is more likely to be attractive than an unintelligent, unstable woman.

The truth in the nerd’s understanding of women is that he can only hope for a woman with a limited range of good qualities, because quality women (like quality men) are rare. And they aren’t looking for uninsightful engineering students.

I understand the rationalization at play here, but it’s still weird to see guys basically announcing (even if unwittingly) that they have low value to women.

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