Anton McDowell wrote a pretty decent explanation of why girls go for bad boys, backing up his conclusions with math and all sorts of logic. He describes how at least some of this instinct is a maladaptation, and I concur. His follow-up, 4 Reasons Why Beta Males Persist in Human Populations, addresses why average schlubs still manage to breed despite the phenomena he describes in his other article.
Human females are designed to use both strategies. Using McDowell’s mathematical model in the first post, even if Megan “wins”, both Susan and Megan have lots of grandchildren. We’re designed to survive through following our basest instincts (in this case boinking the bad boy).
However, McDowell misses something in his mathematical analysis that I find essential to a fundamental point. Although we’re designed to survive through women mating with the baddest of the badasses, we need something more to thrive.
McDowell’s mathematical model works only if we disregard two important factors. First, even if Megan’s children have stronger genes, without sufficient paternal investment, one of her two Alpha sweetheart children is more likely to die before having the chance to reproduce (which drops her grandchild count considerably). He won’t know as much about hunting or fishing because he’ll lack fatherly guidance, and if marauders come to town, he’s more likely to get a club to the head. Even if Alpha-boy would do better in a fight than his Beta-boy counterpart, as a six year-old, Beta-boy hiding behind dad has a much better chance of survival than Alpha-boy with his dad three villages away, banging another peasant.
Second, even if Megan’s kids are lucky enough to survive into adulthood and she winds up having more grandchildren than Susan, Susan’s children are much more likely to lead happy and productive lives. Boring beta dads spend time with their kids, teach them how to do stuff, and build better shelter so that they’re less likely to get eaten by wolves (or even have to worry about them). Granted, to an extent this transcends the purely biological imperative. Nonetheless, this is something that a prospective mother should consider, at least if she wants to be a decent one.
Decent mothers are more likely to pay attention to just a bit more than what makes her tingle.
Our biological instincts may attract us to numbers alone, but our human instincts don’t just want lots of offspring, they want happy offspring, children who can grow up and get what they want out of life.
Yet ironically, even though Susan’s strategy might not have the hard numbers focus of Megan, she may well “win” the numbers game, too.
Nowhere in America is Mr. Big more likely to dominate the sexual market than in our inner cities and trailer parks, areas where women might be having lots of kids, but those kids aren’t doing especially well. Although they may have more Alpha genes, they’re also a lot less likely to make it to their twentieth birthday. Furthermore, were it not for “beta” America spending so much of its tax money on welfare, these kids would have even less of a chance. The only reason this mating strategy has even the slightest chance of working is that outside forces prop it up.
McDowell alludes to this in the “Hard Times” section of his second post, but hard times alone won’t cut it. Although we’re making the “hard times” in poor neighborhood a little less hard through giving them other people’s money (thus allowing such folks to defer facing the consequences of their actions), there are plenty of places around the world under much “harder times” where the women still mate with only Alphas. There are also lots of poor folk who adapt the way McDowell describes, and they do somewhat better.
Women who put a little thought into those they breed with are more likely to have children that thrive, but it takes a bit more self-awareness to recognize that. A woman who follows instinct and instinct alone is much more likely to have offspring that will succumb to natural forces just like their mom.
As humans, we’re not designed to just follow our instincts. I literally wanted to kill this dude who wouldn’t stop asking me for money outside Starbucks the other night, but I suppressed my instincts so I’m not in prison.
Of course, although the bad boy instinct may be a maladaptation, the way the “morally advanced” West has responded to prosperity isn’t exactly productive, either. Indeed, women don’t need to mate with cold-blooded killers anymore, but they’re still women. As such, the prudent thing to do would have been for us to recognize that women still want men, strong men who know how to get them excited, even if they won’t see them come home covered in blood quite so often.
Instead, we’ve idiotically thought that we can completely transcend biology, that we can simply drop our seemingly nonsensical instincts the moment we don’t think we need them anymore. We’ve therefore metaphorically castrated far too many of our boys. We’ve left women with the choice of an Alpha who ignores the kids after they’ve been born and the reliable beta who bores the living crap out of her.
It might be smarter to choose the beta, but we must admit that the Alpha’s quite a bit more fun. How about we start training the decent men among us to develop some testicular fortitude so as to make the “smart” choice just a little more appealing.