Sunday, November 18, 2018

Why men are useless before they reach age 33.

Jennifer Lopez is not known for giving great advice, but this article hit the ball right off the park. In my opinion Jennifer Lopez is speaking a really honest and brutal truth about men in general that cuts across cultures.

I came across this diagram from the Economist which I will share here :

Social scientists have been plundering Tinder and various dating apps for data and, in my opinion, this chart proves Jennifer Lopez point.

The desirability of men actually peaks late, at around age 50 but a woman's desirability monotonically decreases after age 20. The intersection point between the desirability between a man and a women is around age 30. In other texts of evolutionary psychology, it seems that men are into women aged 27 no matter what their actual age is so, we can also estimate from the diagram that a man of age 33 has about the same desirability as a woman of age 27. This is why I'd reason that J Lo is spot on.

At a less empirical level, this also makes a whole lot of sense.

When I was engineering undergraduate, it was so hard to date women. They are fairly demanding and expect a lot from men they date. As I got older, I noticed that the men who stayed single had a much easier time the  longer they stayed single. This because their desirability goes up but the desirability of women in their age cohort goes down. They also started to gain better access to younger women as they got older.

Financial capital obviously plays a major role in the dating game but sociologists have started to examine other sources of capital. Namely, cultural and social capital.

I will only focus on cultural capital today.

Your cultural capital measures how good your personal tastes are. Even though engineers and computer scientists comprise of 9% of millionaires in surveys, they make their money much later in life. In their twenties, it can be argued that they have no capital at all. For example, Arts and Humanities guys have the time and the inclination to develop an eclectic mix of musical tastes, which is what cultural capital is all about. I would even venture to guess that if you look at the Spotify list of engineering majors, you may find a lot of anime/otaku music. But if you look at a Arts guy, it may be a list of Jazz, World Music as well as pop songs. That matters a lot in the dating world because assortative mating, or choosing a mate based on personal interests, educational level and tastes, takes precedence over hypo/hypergamy than in the past.

A man at age 33 also has sufficient time to build up his financial capital and signal how valuable he really is as a lifelong mate. We know that this is also about the time someone in the FIRE movement makes his first $100,000. Also, a lot of guys become discouraged in their 30s and make a decision to become Wizards, MGTOW, bare branches or Ohitorisamas. So your pool of competitors start to drop after this.

I would go further to advise this generation of male readers.

You need to use the solution to secretary's problem to build a "database" of women you date before you make a commitment. This a period of time where you shop around, equivalent to 37% of the time you give yourself to find a spouse. There is ample to do this before you are 33. Only after your desirability goes up should you commit to someone from subsequent dates.

In some other articles I have read, some relationship gurus advise seeing about 16-17 women before you can decide what kind of person you will be happy to settle down with.

This was not too practical during my time since I married my first girlfriend, but we live in an age of Coffee Meets Bagels and Tinder. You can get a date while eating a bowl of ramen noodles at home.

So this is a actually a great tine to be a guy.

Even though you might be worthless until you reach age 33.


  1. Hi Chris,

    This is theory. The reality is much more realistic and not always the true reflection of the said theory. I experience it many times in my journey.


  2. Is this a theory in theory or is this a theory in practice ?

  3. A theory in practice. Such theory not relevant in my situation as per my perspective. It might differ in others.

    My two cents of view.


  4. Sounds logical but there may be a blind spot in the analyses in that a lot of desirables before ages of 33 may not even utilize such dating sites hence reducing the quality of the sample size for younger men as they more heavily rely on means to find girls ie. Clubs or school