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The Allure Of The Coy Man

It’s easier to judge men’s sexual interest than it is to judge women’s sexual interest.

Everyone Can Predict The Interest Level Of Men On A Date – But Not Of The Women With Them

When it comes to assessing the romantic playing field — who might be interested in whom — men and women were shown to be equally good at gauging men’s interest during an Indiana University study involving speed dating — and equally bad at judging women’s interest. […]

“The hardest-to-read women were being misperceived at a much higher rate than the hardest-to-read men. Those women were being flirtatious, but it turned out they weren’t interested at all,” said lead author Skyler Place, a doctoral student in IU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences working with cognitive science Professor Peter Todd. “Nobody could really read what these deceptive females were doing, including other women.”  […]

“How people talk might convey more than what they say,” Place said.

Observers did not have to see much of this non-verbal behavior. They were just as good at predicting the speed-dating couple’s interest if they saw only 10 seconds of the date as they were if they saw 30 seconds. The researchers say this showed that observers, even with limited information, could make quick, accurate inferences using “thin slices” of behavior. […]

Evolutionary theory, said Place, predicts a certain level of coyness or even deceptiveness in women because if a relationship is abandoned they may face greater costs, including pregnancy and child rearing. When choosing a mate, it is in a woman’s best interest to get men to open up and talk honestly to give her a better idea of whether they would be good long-term partners.

“In a speed dating environment, you would expect to see these effects dramatically, with the women trying to get the men to be more straightforward, while they themselves remain more coy,” Place said.

Female coyness is an evolutionary adaptation that serves two important purposes; one, it pressures male suitors to be more forthcoming with personal information that could reveal their mate value (and male mate value is more complex than female mate value, which for the latter amounts to mostly how the woman looks), and two, it alters perception of a woman’s sexual fidelity. Coy women tend to be perceived by men as less slutty and therefore better long-term mate prospects who won’t cuckold them.

So that sly smile and subtle shit test tossed out over drinks in a cozy lounge are nothing more than a woman’s mental executions of ancient biological algorithms operating at the subconscious level. Romantic poetry and sweeping odes are man’s attempt to elevate this sordid and banal clanking of the machinery of genetic legacy beyond the realm of disappointment. Can you blame us for smearing lipstick on this pig?

So coyness is the natural state of woman. And informational overload the natural state of man. Men sell, women buy. Men market, women browse. This is the current that carries courtship over hormonally-tossed helical seas.

And yet game, in theory and in practice, teaches men to act opposite their natural instinct; to assume the role and the prerogative and the mindset of the woman in seductive affairs. In essence, to flip the script.

Flipping the script works. It works because women can’t resist a man who won’t tidily play by the established, and oh so boring, rules. A coy man — a man who is as circumspect and judgmental and inscrutable as women normally are at the beginning of a courtship — triggers women’s attraction, much like a woman’s firm round ass and pretty face triggers attraction in men. Male coyness — aka the art of insinuating you are the one being chased — is so odd, and so at adds with biological, not to mention social, norms, that women are compelled to chase the man who effectively adopts such a conceit. A woman thinks to herself, or rather she subthinks to herself (because these thoughts never really materialize fully into conscious awareness):

“This man is coy for a reason. What is he hiding? And how amazing is this part of him he’s hiding? He hasn’t asked a question of me yet. Does he like me or not? I can’t tell. He must have other lovers at his beck and call. I feel strangely intrigued. I need to know more.”

Once a woman is put in this chaser pattern, the seduction is yours to lose. She will be the one readily offering information about herself to win your approval, while you will lean back, literally and figuratively, judging her harshly. For it is true that every woman, despite her boilerplate blather to the contrary, secretly wants to be judged by a man. That’s how she knows you’re better than the rest.


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