About three weeks ago I was made aware of Jenny Bahn’s article, 30 is the New 50 which I thought was timely as it went beyond the xojane pablum where it first appeared to wider readership being picked up by Time. It was timely (heh) because it was right around the same week I published Alpha Agents of Righteous Karma and, coming from a fairly attractive woman, it highlighted many of the points I’d made in that post.
Commenter myreality asked me:
To what extent, if at all, do you think that validation hunting is part of male preference for large age differences when a man is in his late 30’s and beyond? It is definitely not 0%…
I think this is presuming a truth that isn’t.
The idea that men “seek validation” for their earned status or to ‘right’ past wrongs to their egos while they were working their way to that status is a social convention. The Feminine Imperative relies on memes and conventions which shift the ownership of women’s personal liabilities for their sexual strategy to men.
When men are blamed for the negative consequences of women’s sexual strategy it helps to blunt the painful truths that Jenny Bahn is (to her credit) honestly confronting in her article at 30 years old and the SMV balance shifts towards enabling men’s capacity to effect their own sexual strategy.
Have a look at my Sexual Market Value Graph. (click to enlarge)
Although I’ve gone into explaining the loose metrics I’ve based this graph on several occasions, I’ve added some arrows here to illustrate a point that often gets missed or simply blown over because the truths it represents aren’t very flattering. Women would rather men not be aware of their own SMV potential prior to women being able to consolidate upon her sexual strategy.
Popular culture never presumes women are ‘validation hunting’ when they’re enjoying their peak SMV potential at 23 and (by order of degree) indulging that opportunity with men while at their peak. Women are acculturated to feel “empowered” by their sexuality, and really, no guy who wants to bang a hot 23 year old woman is ever going to rebuke her for it, much less develop social conventions to limit their odds of doing so.
However, men enjoying peak SMV in their mid to late 30′s are (by default) presumed to be vindicating themselves and validating their “fragile egos” by dating the younger (and in Jenny Bahn’s case an SMV peaked 23 year old no less) women they naturally find more attractive.
If there is any ‘validation’ for SMV peaked men it’s less about the sense of deserving a hot piece of ass or vindication for the women of his peer age who found him sexually invisible until he hit his peak, and more about validation in a new self-awareness that he finally is in a position of choosing and qualifying women for his intimacy rather than being filtered for his own acceptability for so long.
It’s not about turnabout or fair play now that the sexual selection shoe is on the other foot, but simple deductive pragmatism for a man who is aware of his own SMV and, assuming he’s hasn’t hamstrung his ability to maneuver, wants to exercise that value at (presumedly) the top of his game.
It’s not (usually) that he’s made a conscious effort to make himself an Alpha Agent of Righteous Karma, but that he steps into that role by default when the SMV balance shifts to his favor, and he naturally prefers sexual access to the best physical, and most sexually available woman his newly recognized SMV will afford him. That may not be a 23 year old coed, but it might be with a necessitous 29 year old looking for a solution to her long term investment.
About Those Arrows
One very common (or deliberate) misunderstanding about this chart is the presumption that like should necessarily attract like. A lot of critics claim indignation over the idea that I was suggesting a 23 year old woman should be attracted to a 36-38 year old SMV peaked man. I’ve never proposed this scenario in any post I’ve ever written about SMV, but it’s important to understand the prioritizations of attraction women make during the later phases of their maturation.
Critics who like to presume that this attraction is only based on looks, prowess and virility often don’t take this attraction prioritization into account. Obviously a more youthful man is in better physical shape when he’s younger, and if all we were considering was short term mating prospects and the Alpha Fuck side of feminine hypergamy this graph would look much different. However, once a woman has reached 30 (thank you Ms. Bahn) those attraction (not arousal) priorities look much different.
The primary reason I placed men’s peak SMV in his mid to late thirties is because, if he’s made the most of his potential, this is when he is most likely to have established himself in his status, affluence and achievements while (if he’s maintained himself) still retaining the looks of a more mature man.
It’s exactly women’s sexual prioritization at their most necessitous which puts men at the top of their SMV game. As I’ve detailed in many prior posts, hypergamy wants optimization (Alpha Fucks / Beta Bucks). Women’s pluralistic sexual strategy is optimized when a woman can consolidate a monogamous commitment from a man who can deliver a better genetic benefit and a better personal (providership) investment than her own SMV should realistically be able to warrant her.
In general, at no other point in a man’s life does he possess the a better potential to optimize women’s innate hypergamy.
If you follow the pink arrow, from about women’s 30th year that established SMV peaked man has the best potential to satisfy both aspects of the dualistic nature of hypergamy. It’s important to consider that when a woman reaches her 30s her sexual prioritization is affected by her own capacity to attract and hold male attention. What happens is a sort of subconscious establishing operation – as her capacity to attract becomes diminished, and as the next generation of SMV peaked women comes into their own, the urgency to cash out of the sexual market place increases.
So it’s not that the expectation should be one of 23 year old women wanting to get after it with 38 year old men (though this is exactly the scenario in Jenny Bahn’s story), but rather that 38 year old men increase exponentially in value to 30 year old women at a time when what he possess is what she needs the most.
Back in May a data set was released on Twitter from OKCupid founder Christian Rudder is his book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking). It’s a fascinating read actually and reinforces much of what I speculate about with regard to my own SMV graph.
It’s important to remember that this data is based primarily on looks, but it illustrates the point of my adding the blue arrow to the graph. Men’s arousal and attraction triggers are virtually static. While men’s attraction value variates for women, it is a locked value for women.
While in her SMV peak – as we can see averaged her to around 22 – women enjoy the benefit of having the most sexual selectivity of their lives. However, the power of this selectivity declines as she ages and is further stressed by sexual competition as she does. And while men compete for sexual access to women, the sexual market value of the woman being competed for is still rooted in her capacity to attract attention and arouse men.
When in her SMV peak years, women’s preferences and sexual strategy supersede those of the men who would compete for her, however as she moves towards maturity, and as men ascend to their own SMV peak, a man’s preferences gradually take precedence over women’s.
Jenny Bahn, a reasonably attractive (former model) woman provides us with an excellent example of this transition.
Alex is 38. I’m 30. Technically, there are no “people our age.” But I’m starting to feel that a 30-year-old woman might as well be a 40-year-old man, though infinitely less desirable, culturally speaking.
At 40, a man is well into hitting his stride, something the guy I’m arguing with is all too aware of, as evidenced when he professes on multiple occasions, “I’m an amazing guy.” “We’re killing it. KILLING IT,” he tells me, while explaining that he’s been caught up in his rapidly expanding architecture firm.
[…]A 30-year-old woman is an undertaking, and it’s the real reason Alex has been putting me on the back burner for the past two months, telling me that I’m amazing and that he’s interested and then disappearing to hang out with a 23-year-old instead. Age ain’t nothing but a number, until it’s a number someone else doesn’t want to deal with.
As I mentioned in The Threat:
Nothing is more threatening yet simultaneously attractive to a woman than a man who is aware of his own value to women.
Jenny, like most women in their Epiphany Phase, is now coming to terms with the transition of sexual selection power from what she once no doubt enjoyed to a man who’s made the most of his maturity and potential she wants to consolidate on in long term monogamy.
Jenny has a rare honesty and insight to recognize this, but naturally the ‘validation’ social convention is there to assuage her predicament. Even in her self-acceptance of her situation Alex is colored with an uncooperative attitude. His perspective is ‘incorrect’ in a fem-centric social order. If he were really ‘mature’ he would be dating and marrying Jenny (a victim of her own past decisions) instead of seeking ‘validation’ with a 23 year old hottie.
The presumption of Alex validating himself with a hot 23 year old makes men his age, in general, more shallow or manipulative, or uncooperative with the mandates of a feminine-primary social order. A mature, established man shouldn’t want to date women in their 20s, he should cooperate with the Feminine Imperative and validate Jenny’s sexual strategy by becoming monogamous with her.
What Alex is doing isn’t seeking validation, it’s simple SMP pragmatism – the power of sexual selectivity (though by no means unilateral) has switched in degree to his favor. Alex is enjoying his peak SMV and a large portion of that value comes from his desirability from women like Jenny; women who delayed capitalizing on their SMV peak and now, at 30, find themselves on the necessitous side of that sexual selectivity.