The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 11 – Women’s Rising Standards and Calling Out Bad Behaviour

In-Sight Publishing

The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 11 – Women’s Rising Standards and Calling Out Bad Behaviour

April 15, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]


Rick Rosner: I became obsessed with becoming the perfect male feminist to try to get my girlfriend back after she dumped me. So, I read every issue of Miss Magazine ever published up to the date that I was trying to do that.

When I was a kid I tried to collect every issue of Mad Magazine ever published which I did up to the point I quit doing that. With the fake IDs I caught 6,000 fake IDs and then I caught another 6,000 people who snuck into bars without any IDs.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: On another topic, you asked me, “Are women’s standards rising?”

Rick Rosner: Alright, so right now there is a whole, for the past six months or so, a number of powerful men have been outed for being sexual harassers or flat-out rapists. People think this may lead to lasting changes to behavior between men and women.

I think that the idea of clear consent throughout a sexual encounter has been around for at least 15 years now, maybe even 20. I was asking you; you being 30 years younger than me have noticed guys being more at home with getting consent then perhaps my generation and you said it is pretty much the opposite.

Jacobsen: It depends on the subgroup and that will bring about your answer, but from some experiences. There are sectors that aggressively react in opposition to the idea of consent to assert themselves in an inappropriate manner.

Another group does not do that. They take into account the public conversation in its most respectful and reasonable forms and use that to inform their own behavior to behave better in real life. Then there is a range in between that for a spectrum – “spectrum” that is overused.

Rosner: Alright. There is that clear famous question the Freud asked that has been used by feminists to make fun of guys’ cluelessness. Freud asked, “What do women want?”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Rosner: I mean that somebody is asking that question isn’t bad, the badness comes when somebody’s so clueless that he thinks that somehow there is one answer across an entire gender.

Jacobsen: Or her.

Rosner: Yes, but I mean Freud’s the one who asked first and most prominently. I think there should be a class of guys who understand. I think in the past in the Mad Men type 50’s and 60’s there was a tacit understanding of women being functions of gender.

That Freudian question would have made perfect sense to a Man Men type guy. “Oh yes, those women. Yu can’t live with them. You can’t live without them.” Any umbrella statement about women shows that women aren’t being considered on an individual basis.

Jacobsen: It is a bit like the statements of our government. “The best government is least government” of which the response is “the least government is no government,” so from minarchy to anarchy.

It is almost like the best way to treat every woman is as an individual and, of course, the best individuals treat everyone as an individual.

Rosner: Yes, the whole idea of there are these books – ‘How to Pick Up Girls.’ In addition to being creepy, there are bad underlying assumptions. The early books this were “Yes, women are these.” It is a behavioristic thing.

You treat women as if they are generic and unsophisticated. That you can somehow train them or trick them as if they are a lesser being than you, a male. Second wave feminism has been around for about 50 years now.

Then there has been a modern perspective on intersexual interaction where what I am saying is there should be a demographic of guys who are able to deal with women because they treat women or think of women as individuals but with the potential.

Everyone has individual histories, preferences, thoughts, and situations, where a guy might deal with other guys as if each guy is an individual. With his own situation and his own opinions and stuff, there should be a significant proportion of guys who do the same thing with women.

Jacobsen: This is a socialist libertarian or a classical liberal idea coming from John Stuart Mill and Helen Mill of looking at people as individuals and then seeing the results to make your judgments about groups.

Rosner: At the same time, you mentioned that women have perhaps moved into their own feelings of individualism and autonomy and have had to exercise more of it. You can say women have more education now.

Jacobsen: Yes. So, the general rule of thumb or the heuristic is: women do partner up, if they are heterosexual, equal or up; men do partner down; equal or up & equal or up, on average.

Rosner: What you are saying is that the women who have less power socially and economically want guys to be in charge, they should make more money.

Jacobsen: Yes, another frame of reference. Women make less money than them or are less educated than them. They want women who are attractive and younger than them.

Rosner: There is a strip joint analogy, not analogy, but where you can see this in with regard to strippers. Some guys going into strip joints. They do not care what the woman’s situation in life is because they feel they can be her savior.

In fact, there is a crazy approach in strip joints. I have been dragged to strip joints a few times and a surprising approach that some strippers used to get you to buy a lap dance is to come up to you and the stereotypical approach is “I am dancing my way through college.”

But the approach I have seen used is “Buy a lap dance from me because I am in such a terrible situation, I am recovering from cancer. My boyfriend stabbed me four times, see these scars in my stomach. I am in a terrible situation and my life is a mess. Buy a lap dance from me because you feel sorry for me.”

It was a shocking come on for me to see because it doesn’t seem sexy to tell somebody that you are in misery, but apparently that works with the guy wanting to be in charge and being a savior. He is “Okay, yes, I will let you grind on me in your little butt-less g-string.”

Jacobsen: At the same time, those come to a type of woman who wants to be saved, right? And often, those women that want to be saved can attract guys that are predatory types.

Rosner: Whatever happens in a strip joint is fake, at least from the dancer’s side, they will tell you whatever they think will work. They are not there to make a human connection. Some human connections might form, but that is not the idea.

You go to work. You use what you can to get money out of guys, but on the opposite side women do not particularly enjoy male strippers. You talked about what women want, somebody who is financially stable and all that.

Jacobsen: The biggest factor is income. There are a bunch of others too.

Rosner: The way I think of it is that women do not like strippers because they are there in the bar to watch the strippers to get away from the loser they have at home. The guy who is an asshole to them.

They go to a place where a bunch of losers who go to the gym are dancing for them and the women are not as powerful for them because the situation that the guys are in… I mean stripper male strippers are to a certain extent fuck-ups.

Jacobsen: The woman is paying to see the guy, not the guy paying for her dinner. It is different.

Rosner: I mean women are not that into strippers because strippers are not glamorous to women. They are goofy guys who are shaking it on stage. But in any case, you mentioned another thing, which is the trend that women tend to be more and more among the educated class and guys are less and less.

Jacobsen: Yes, you can put it in two ways. Men have a main factor of attraction to fecundity that they look for in women, long-term and short-term relationships. Women have youth and health and masculinity in biological terms desired for a short-term fling, but not in long-term partners in terms of desired traits. So, men are reversed from women in long-term partner selection.

Rosner: However, you were also saying that women have eight in the world.

Jacobsen: Yes, that is the point to make. So, the cultural thing is by cultural success metrics: education, wealth, autonomy. Women have more of that now than they have ever had before. They have more education than their brothers, their husbands, their nephews, etc.

That is historically unprecedented. In a knowledge economy, if you have education, you have skills that are helpful in general for that knowledge economy. So, you have better access to better jobs with higher status and jobs that pay more and have more status attached to them – more than brothers, husbands, and nephews etc.

Those brothers, husbands, and nephews who are not succeeding as much in those educational domains. So, relative to their female counterparts, men are declining in quality for what women value in long-term partners, which happens to probably match what culture generally sees as successful: income, education, etc.

However, men do not value the same things women do in long-term relationships. At the same time, men value partners at their level or below in those cultural metrics, so less education, less income. Women value men at their level or above. That creates a problem because then as women have risen. Their standards have risen, but the quality of male by societal metrics has declined.

Rosner: Two things come out of this; one is that you have a bunch of guys who’ve given up on getting a girlfriend; the resentful, angry, 4chan guys, Reddit guys, who make do by beating off to porn and who live lonely lives on the fringes and do what they can to be disruptive a-holes on social media.

Jacobsen: That is a passive aggressive form of it. They are anonymous. They are online.

Rosner: That is the bad deal, but the good deal is that in the 70’s when I was growing up, getting a girlfriend and having sex belonged to the super cool guys. But given this changing demographic, a guy can aspire to perhaps being acceptable to a woman and getting a partner by being in the world and being a reasonable success: going to school, getting a job, and treating women as individuals where maybe that wouldn’t have been sufficient to get a girlfriend in the 70’s.

Now with guys being underrepresented in the normal life, normal behavior population or a regular guy even a bit of a schlubby guy can maybe aspire to have a partnership.

Jacobsen: Yes, there is a bunch of names for the guys. Not the ones who have declined but still aspire, but the ones that have checked out or opted out in completely. In Japan, they are Hikkikomori. Italy they are Bamboccionis.

Rosner: That means grass eaters.

Jacobsen: Grass eaters in contrast to their grandfathers and fathers who would be meat-eater men in translation. I forgot, there is another term for them as well. All these groups are different expressions either online or in a particular culture or subculture of this happening.

It is still a super minority, but it is a phenomenon. It has implications for birth rates and for the economic viability of the country because employment is low for that demographic of able-bodied men. Well also, who is going to be putting into the system to help care for older people?

I mean making a standard argument for people who will assume things, will stay relatively the same. Of course, it is not going to be. Then if you look at the US, I recall this vaguely. For men in the critical 25-54-year-old group, it is men of prime working age.

It is lower than it was in 1940.

 Rosner: What exactly is lower?

Jacobsen: The 25 to 54 prime age working males. That is the definition by the demographers. It said work rates were two percentage points lower in 2015 than in 1940.

Rosner: Two percent less of the potential male workforce is working. That is what you are saying.

Jacobsen: Two percent less than the 1940 rate, which is considerably low. That leads to that question about the economic viability of a country. The economic output is less than it could have been if these particular men had kept up with their sisters, wives, etc., in these environments.

Rosner: Overall what this means is that people who go out and attempt to be in the world and evaluate other people on a person-by-person basis and engage in considerate behavior based on viewing other people as entire individuals, that can work better for somebody now in terms of eventually getting a partner then it would have in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70s.

Jacobsen: I think you are absolutely right, yes.

Rosner: Okay. Is that a good place to wrap it up?

Jacobsen: Yes. I have one footnote to that, which is the rising standards will push the overall bar up for a lot of men in some ways where it was good in the past to be employed alone but women will want more than this – expect more than this.

But it will also increase quite starkly compared to the past such as, for instance, consensual relationships with not necessarily equal but, because the data is pretty poor on that, better in terms of Mr. Dad doing some dishes, helping with the changing the diapers, taking the kids on the stroller, etc.

Those things in a relationship will be things that women will not only see as secondary bonuses but potential expectations.

Rosner: Here’s how I see it. In the 70’s, I saw superhot people hooking up, but they were in the minority. Now, I see a bunch of nice schlubby people with each other. Regular people who happened to be nice. It is a better world for a regular nice people.

Jacobsen: Yes. There is a downside to that, for the schlubby people, which is higher risks of early disease and shorter life spans.

Rosner: Now, you are talking about full-on overweight people, which is a different thing.

Jacobsen: It is a metric of attraction for people.

Rosner: Right, it is among the people who can be partnered up. It is a wider spectrum now.

Jacobsen: Yes, I mean you can look at Kevin Smith (ed. no offense to the great scriptwriter) and not be rich.

Rosner: Yes, you can be a healthy person who weighs 185 and has 22 percent body fat as a guy, which is not going to kill you right away. You are an average guy, soft. You might go to the gym a little bit. You might play basketball or whatever.

I mean it is not that you are a welded your couch. You are an average guy. Your odds of being partnered up now are better than they would have been in 1977.

Jacobsen: Yes.

Rosner: And it is the same for your female equivalent.

Jacobsen: For most people, I mean we’re talking averages. Even though the bar will have risen or has risen, I mean that this is an observation on necessarily a data-driven statement but that is a good thing.

Because most people most of the time, I mean 96% of the population is heterosexual, so most people most of the time will aspire to things that will be espoused by people like Steve Harvey and Oprah and Dr. Phil.

These long-term intimate heterosexual relationships with a person of the opposite sex.

Rosner: Yes, I mean with the same-sex relationships are more doable now than they have been and are said to be egalitarian. Maybe, to boil it down even further, this may be more the era of the nice guy than 40 years ago.

Jacobsen: Yes.

Rosner: And equivalently the nice woman; people who are okay people in the world.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

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  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

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