Terrible dating advice as self-propagating systems

Everyone should be generally quite sceptical of dating advice and pretty much mostly go by their own instincts.

Why? Dating advice gets communicated, then re-circulated, regardless of its efficacy. It spreads because it makes the spreaders feel good. There’s no strong evolutionary pressure to kill off bad advice. In fact, the opposite is true: bad advice makes for a stronger memes. Because bad advice memes keep their hosts failing at the dating game, enabling them to put more energy into the dating-advice-spreading game.

Put some trust in words of demonstrably wiser and superior people. Otherwise trust and develop your own instincts.



  1. But you can’t survive/thrive by being a moron who just goes by his feelings. Uninformed instinct-following will lead you astray, thanks to:

    – the fact that instincts can be understood and others will try to exploit them
    – the difference between the modern environment and that of our evolutionary past

    Technology such as money and new media mean there are new traps to be wary of. Money complicates relationships, but not necessarily too much. Tradition serves as a useful guide to pick up where instinct leaves off. For instance, in marking out prostitution as something separate and distinct from ordinary relationships, and something shameful, to be avoided.

    Porn is a newer hazard, but it’s similar. It’s related. Look up the etymology.

    Instantaneous long-distance communication develops new threats and opportunities. Tradition hasn’t had time to develop around them. We’ll need reason, based on wisdom. We need to be teachable.

    ‘Long distance relationships’ seem like an appealing innovation. Doc Love says they’re a waste of time. Genuine relationships involve people physically being in the same space together. And a habit of frequent texting kills challenge.


  2. Terrible dating advice, if read uncritically, will tend to become internalised. So it can make your instincts worse. So my advice of relying on instincts is problematic.

    There is a need for specific counter-propaganda against specific bad advice.


    I haven’t, by any means, made a comprehensive survey of the ‘Nerdlove’ site—I find it exhausting to read, with many words (and distracting illustrations) for few ideas. But everything I did read seemed like a variation on the following schtick:

    “Look my friends, I love nerds. In fact I used to be, and perhaps still am, a nerd myself. I even throw out anime and video game and Star Wars references! But let’s be honest: when it comes to the actual substance of what they think and feel, the nerds who my website is meant to help are miserable dregs of humanity in pretty much every respect. No wonder no one wants to date them: they’re not just socially awkward, they’re morally reprehensible! They differ from the surrounding culture in their values and social norms—and in every case, without exception, that’s because the surrounding culture is right and the nerds are wrong. So you want advice? Fine, my advice to nerds is: first and most importantly, stop harming other people with your nerdy, NiceGuy behavior. After that, try to stop being the horrible, bitter, misogynistic, entitled losers who you fundamentally are. (Again, I say this because I love you!) Renounce all your firsthand experience of human nature as illusory, and all your moral feelings as unsound. Accept that the people who’ve treated you with disdain your entire life are not merely your social superiors, but your ethical superiors as well. Then, out of the charred remains of your former self, maybe you can begin to aspire to become 1% as awesome as I now am.”

    Then, a thousand social-justice types eagerly link to this stuff, saying: “aha! you’re wrong that there’s no socially-acceptable guidance for shy nerds! You forgot about Dr. Nerdlove! And three or four other sites with similar messages!”

    The comment sections on Nerdlove are particularly revealing: as far as I could tell, every commenter who expresses an “anti-nerd” viewpoint (even a cruel, shaming one) gets a large number of upvotes, while everyone who tries to explain how the nerds themselves see things (even in measured and respectful ways) gets a corresponding number of downvotes. And while I’m sure it’s there somewhere and I missed it, after reading several thousand comments, I couldn’t find a single example of a nerd saying that he (or she) was helped in any way by Nerdlove’s advice. The only praise for this “advice” seemed to come from people who were never in the market for the advice to begin with. Certainly this advice would never have helped me.

    What would have helped? I guess that’s what Laurie and I will try to figure out in our joint post! But for a preview: I would never, ever imply to nerds that they’re selling a fundamentally tainted product, so no wonder nobody wants to buy it, and the only positive thing to say is that if they recreate their product from the ground up, maybe someday it could become worthy of a buyer. Instead, I’d try telling the truth: that they’re selling a fine specialty product, one that not everyone wants, but that for those who do want it, is far beyond what most of the world can provide. So really, they don’t need to fundamentally change anything: just continue developing the product in ways that are intrinsic to it, but in the meantime, add a pinch of marketing to identify the potential customers, and to let them know that the product is now for sale.


  3. Examine possible motivations for propagating dating disinformation. Bad advice for men makes it harder for them to attract women. Thus:

    – men’s conscious attempts to be attractive become disordered and fail, while the genetically superior men’s inherent strength shines forth more brightly. It shuts down the fakers. Lower quality men drop out of the game, or lower their standards. So it increases the degree of ‘assortive mating’ (like matching with like) on grounds of quality. So for higher quality women, it’s an adaptive, eugenic strategy.


  4. Sweeping away of lies and bullshit as the natural trend. And this trend played out to the extreme means not only the end of ‘bluepill’ nonsense. It’s the end of ‘redpill’ posturing.


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