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If you are a man such as myself with a long and storied relationship history, it will start to worry new girls that you meet why you have decided to remain “single”, i.e. unmarried. You see, a former marriage, no matter how spectacular its failing, is a mark of success on a man; it says to a prospective mate he was able at one time to attract a woman the traditional way and bind her in the facsimile of a long term commitment. This is another one of those intractable and intrinsic gender double standards that whiners will just have to learn to accept with dignity — divorced men suffer less of a blow to their dating market value than do divorced women. The same is true of divorced men with kids, or single dads; they do not suffer nearly the same market value penalty that single moms do.

It all comes down to the biologically induced disparity in how men and women respond to the phenomenon of preselection. Men, being nearly 100% visually oriented in their attractions to women, couldn’t care less what kind of man is on her arm, or what kind of men used to be on her arm. They see, they like. Simple equation. All they care about is that she is unencumbered (or unskewered) by dicks present, and to a lesser extent, by dicks past. Women, on the other hand, rely heavily on preselection (when it is available as a tool to judge mate quality) in their attractions to men. They see he is liked, they like.

And so it goes with divorcées. Divorced men can see a boost in their attractiveness to women (as long as they avoid bringing up the ex-wife in reverent tones during pickups), while divorced women see no boost, or even a negative hit, in their attractiveness to men. Consequently, my advice to divorced men is to mention your divorcée status early in a conversation. My advice for divorced women would be just the opposite — refrain from bringing it up, and if he asks, lie. This double standard is so entrenched that even *married* men will see an increase in their pickup success.

This is why I have discovered that a man telling girls he was once engaged works to stimulate their curiosity. And female curiosity is the catalyst that speeds the chemical reaction leading to tingles. Why engaged? Because former finacée sounds sexier than ex-wife. It is pregnant with romantic and tragic possibility. She sees this man, once engaged but no longer, and her mind reels with fantasy of what went wrong. Was it irreconcilable differences? Did he cheat on her? Did she move away? Did he make demands she couldn’t meet? Did she die in a horrible car accident? Was there a vast cultural gulf? Did her family sabotage their love? What did she look like?

Don’t worry if you were never engaged. Lie. It is the sort of lie that is nearly impossible to detect, or accidentally expose. And it is the sort of lie women crave from men, and would not disrupt with arid investigative pursuit. Your job, as a man with a keen grasp of female psychology, is to lie and let her overworked hamster fill in the missing narrative. The best way to do this is to say you were once engaged to a French girl, for American women bristle from the imagined competitive threat of French girls. (When American women ask me who my favorite actresses are, I always mention Marion Cotillard and Audrey Tautou. Then I watch with satisfaction their faces flash a hint of sexually lubricative insecurity.)

HER: Were you always single?


HER: Really!

THE DEVIL WHO REMAKES U IN HIS IMAGE: Yes. [Turn away, look pensively at the horizon] She was a French girl. We were in love.

HER: What happened?



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