Thursday, April 01, 2021

Brutal truths about Modern Dating in Singapore

Disclaimer: This post will trigger a lot of people who will say that I am generalising too broadly with my model and that it can be disproven by anecdotal evidence. I just want to say that ALL MODELS ARE WRONG. We construct models to understand a phenomenon better and possibly predict future behaviour. If there flaws in a model, we can always finetune it to make it better.

Recently, I've been spending more time on NUS Whispers where I can relive the olden days when I was a relationship troll in

The basic relationship problems shared on that FB group has not really changed over the past 20 years and I think young folks may benefit from constructing a simple model that resolves most of the unhappiness when it comes to relationships. 

In this article, I will present a very simplistic model on modern dating practices in Asian societies and then I will try to explain why it causes so much pain to Millennials and Gen Z. I may also propose some trade-offs and solutions. 

We will first examine the most simple mating preferences of Singapore or Asian women. Singapore women are deeper than Singaporean men and employ a multi-factor model when valuing their men. But for simplicity's sake, let's just assume that Singapore women rate their men based on earning power. A large number of posts in NUS Whispers is angst about the low earning power of potential husbands, so we'll just make a hypergamy assumption.  

So, how do we score men using this single-factor model? By looking at income data from government statistics.

How do men score women? It's even simpler, men have not evolved from his neanderthal roots. Evolutionary psychology combines facial symmetry, hip-to-waist-ratio into an attractiveness score. Simply rate women based on attractiveness and let the bell-curve god do the rest.

So our crude model has a single score to rate men and women. It can look like this :

Now, let us look at the constraints impinging on our model. 

In modern societies, Asian women don't simply match their attractiveness to a mate's earning power directly. They need prospective husbands to earn more money than they do. So a woman earning power of 7/10 can only marry men who are 7,8,9 or 10 from an earnings perspective.  A mismatch occurs if she only has looks of 6 and below. On the other hand, even if a guy is low earning, he may not want to settle down with a woman who is 1 or 2 in attractiveness. 

(There is always pornhub and Geylang.) 

So this model predicts the following :

a) Low earning men and high earning women stay single

The easier conclusion that comes from this model is that men who have low pay stay single. The rate of singlehood can be brutal when aggregated confirming that greater singlehood will be concentrated at lower ends of the educated spectrum. For women, the opposite occurs, the more well-educated she is, the most she is likely to stay single. Having an above-average IQ increases the marriage rates of men but decreases it for women. Statistics will also support the prevalence of local-foreign mating pairs, especially among lower-earning men.

This will be a source of many postings on NUS Whispers in time to come. 

b) Male traders who flaunt trades during the US Tech boom may be compensating for poorer educational qualifications 

Administrators on popular finance FB groups have been cautioning members not to show off their super-successful trades in TSLA and other US tech stocks, but we're still seeing a lot of trader bros showing off their 500% returns without explaining their thought processes behind them. 

Why are these "flexes" of investing genius are always committed by men? 

My hypothesis is that absent the signalling effects of educational attainment, successful trades are a sign of future earnings potential. 

This is the same as a male peacock showing off their beautiful plumage.

That being said: I really miss these traders bros. They seem to have disappeared lately.

c) Really smart women may take on roles beneath their true earnings potential in the workplace

I'm saying this with a lot of worries on my mind because I hope my daughter does not need to do this in the future.

While men have to puff their finances up, really smart women who want happiness in life may suppress their true earnings potential. This can be done by joining nurturing professions like childcare and nursing to seem less intimidating to men. 

In essence, women are playing themselves down so that their future husbands will not lose face and be seen as "eating soft rice". 

This is a really powerful model when explaining dating mechanics. 

When I was out with my ex-colleagues who are all about half my age, they told me a story of a lady friend who, against the advice of her pals, dated a playboy and got a not-so-nice disease after a brief fling. I explained that the playboy is probably a 7-8 but he's smart about dating. Instead of targeting another 7 or 8, he chose to build a harem of 5-6s that are at his beck and call. 

I predicted that the lady must be somewhat plain but the playboy has some K-pop Oppa flair and fairly well to do. I was spot-on regarding my analysis. 

Given her looks, the lady cannot possibly find a boyfriend of that kind of quality anywhere else. But she is wasting her time because he will eventually find a 7-8 to settle down with later in life.

To conclude this article, what is the most important pre-requisite before getting into the dating game? 

Know your score and your decile. Know where you stand compared to your peers.

When I was in my 20s, women who were rated 8,9 or 10 would come over and speak to me. 

When faced with this, I normally open with "You are selling insurance or MLM?"

I was 100% right in all of these cases.

Because in my 20s, I don't attract 8,9 or 10s.


  1. Hilarious descriptions of the decile bands. Very enjoyable read haha

  2. Now that you are in your 40s (I assume), are 8, 9 or 10s still coming up to you and are they still selling MLMs or insurance?

  3. I'm married. If 8-10 come to me it's definitely for financial and not dating reasons