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Become the Man Women Want
By Tucker Max
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Whether they conducted their research in life or in the lab, experts Tucker Max and Dr. Geoffrey Miller have spent the last 20+ years learning what women really want from their men, why they want it, and how men can deliver those qualities.
The short answer: become the best version of yourself possible, then show it off. It sounds simple, but it’s not. If it were, Tinder would just be the stuff you use to start a fire. Becoming your best self requires honesty, self-awareness, hard work and a little help.
Through their website and podcasts, Max and Miller have already helped over one million guys take their first steps toward Ms. Right. They have collected all of their findings in Mate, an evidence-driven, seriously funny playbook that will teach you to become a more sexually attractive and romantically successful man, the right way: No “seduction techniques,” No moralizing, No bullshit. Just honest, straightforward talk about the most ethical, effective way to pursue the win-win relationships you want with the women who are best for you.
Much of what they’ve discovered will surprise you, some of it will not, but all of it is important and often misunderstood. So listen up, and stop being stupid!
Table of Contents
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INTRODUCTION—A NEW APPROACH TO MATING EDUCATION
You have no fucking idea what you're doing.
Not when it comes to sex and dating and women, anyway. That's probably why you bought this book or why someone gave it to you as a not-so-subtle hint that you need to get your shit together. Don't beat yourself up about it though, because it's not your fault.
Your culture has failed you and the women you're trying to meet.
For decades now, women have been wondering, "Where are all the great guys?" You have been wondering, "Where are all of you going? What did I say?" And nobody has had a decent answer for either of you.
Your primal self expected that you'd be born into a normal human tribe with wise mentors, heroic role models, and transformational rites of passage that could solve those mating problems. Your primal brain expected to find itself in a sexual culture with fun mating rituals and a decent chance of finding a girlfriend after puberty. As it should have. That kind of sexual culture had been the hunter-gatherer norm for hundreds of thousands of years. Unfortunately, you never got any of that good stuff your ancestors got.
No, you got fed a bunch of bullshit by parents, priests, professors, and politicians trying to tell you what to do, usually in service of some kind of selfish agenda that had nothing to do with your health, happiness, or mating success.
Your culture should have taught you long ago what we're going to teach you: to be successful in mating, you simply have to become the kind of man that women have evolved to want.
This is not a revolutionary concept; it's an evolutionary one. Human females, like all clever creatures, choose their mates according to certain criteria and preferences. If you don't fit their criteria, they won't mate with you. If you do, good news—you're in business.
It really is that basic, and there's no way around it. In biology, this process is called female choice.
Female choice is so high you can't get over it, so deep you can't get under it, so wide you can't get around it. Your only option is to accept it and embrace it. You have to fit their mate choice criteria. Once you do that and become that man, your future girlfriends will be attracted to you and more grateful than you can imagine—whether you're seeking one-time hookups or a lifelong marriage.
We'll show you all of this stuff. We'll explain the five principles for successful mating to give you a nice functional framework, and then we'll walk you through the five steps for getting your mating life together. That's it. That's all you need to fix your mating life, so that's all there is to this book.
It's a very simple concept, and the next 330 pages are dedicated to showing you what that is, why that is, and how to do it. If you pay attention and follow along—if you work on becoming a great guy who can offer the things women instinctively want—you will be happier, and women will be happier with you. Everyone wins.
THIS BOOK'S ORIGIN
This is not our book; it's your book. We built it from the ground up to serve your needs. It's been shaped by your emails, questions, and feedback. It even originated in the dating failures of guys like you. Here's how that happened:
This book exists because some young guys in Cincinnati were terrible with women, and they blamed Tucker Max.
At a Thanksgiving dinner, Geoff was hanging out with some of his male cousins—typical young American guys in high school or college, mostly without girlfriends. They asked about Geoff's research in evolutionary psychology and human sexuality. Geoff explained a few basics about why women love self-deprecating humor, why they value intelligence as a "good genes" trait, and how lap dancers' ovulatory cycles influence their tip earnings.
The cousins had never heard about any of that stuff. Some were fundamentalist, some were atheist; some were young Republicans; some were liberal hipsters. Their common ground was that they all adored women, sex, and dating, but they knew almost nothing about these topics.
So Geoff asked his relatives and their friends where they were learning about human mating. Then the floodgates opened. Several mentioned that they'd read Tucker's books, like I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, Assholes Finish First, or Hilarity Ensues. They swore by these books. They weren't just entertaining stories; they were the bedrock of their sexual education—their dating bibles.
Geoff was appalled by their ignorance about mating but intrigued to hear about this Tucker person, who must be an especially wise, well-balanced, sober dating guru to merit such a devoted and diverse following. So Geoff read Tucker's books, and the mystery only deepened. The letters W and T and F kept running through Geoff's mind.
A few months later, Geoff was at a psychology conference in Austin, Texas, and got in touch with Tucker. They found an instant rapport, and Geoff shared the story about the Thanksgiving cousins who were Tucker Max fans.
Tucker asked, "How are they doing with women and dating?"
Geoff said, "Not very well, I think. They seem confused and frustrated. With all due respect, I'm not sure your books are the best guides to how to improve one's dating life."
Well no shit, Tucker thought. His books weren't written as education manuals. They're just funny stories about getting drunk, hooking up, and doing stupid things with his friends. Who takes dating advice from a guy who gets into a Breathalyzer contest at a sushi restaurant? Who takes sex advice from a guy who has to keep replacing his mattresses because women keep peeing on them? If anything, Tucker's stories are cautionary tales—about what not to do. Geoff agreed.
Tucker said, "I don't understand. You're a sex researcher and an evolutionary psychologist. You know this field; you've taught it for decades. Why didn't you just recommend a good mating guide for young men?"
Geoff said, "I tried, but it doesn't exist. Nobody's written it yet."
Tucker was flabbergasted. "How could a basic instruction manual for such a crucially important topic not exist? It has to. You must be wrong!"
No. Tucker was wrong.
Geoff proved the point. "Tucker, how did you learn this stuff?"
Tucker said, "Oh… right. I had to learn it by myself, through trial and error. Lots and lots of error."
Geoff and Tucker spent the whole dinner discussing the reasons for our culture's failure to educate young men about mating. Geoff explained that American schools are still surprisingly repressed about sexual education—federal grants and universities don't support sex or dating research; professors can't advise students on how to become more sexually attractive or improve their Tinder messaging skills; higher education focuses on improving students' economic prospects rather than their private lives. And most of the other advice-givers out there—religious zealots, gender feminists, or manosphere misogynists—have some twisted ideological agenda. Or the advice-givers are exploitative marketers trying to sell manipulative strategies, like most pickup artists. Or the advice is just factually wrong, without any scientific integrity, based on misunderstood third-hand accounts of the research in fields that Geoff's been publishing in for years.
Not one to shy away from big plans and bold pronouncements, Tucker started thinking out loud as Geoff described the current state of the art in sex and dating advice for men.
Tucker said, "Can you imagine how much easier and better our lives would have been if we knew at fifteen or twenty years-old everything about sex and dating that we know now? Shit, it would have even helped me at thirty. It's crazy how much better my life would have been! That advice book should exist!"
Geoff nodded in agreement, the way professors do in Socratic dialogues, when they're just waiting for you to catch up to the answer they already know.
Tucker said, "What if we did that? What if we took what we know now and made it available to every man in America, in an accessible, honest, funny way? We'd combine my street cred and your academic cred! It could be hilarious! It could have science! It could reach millions of guys who are lost and desperate! How great would that be?"
Geoff said, "And it could make millions of women a whole lot less frustrated that there aren't any good guys out there. They're looking for boyfriends, and we could help build them better boyfriends. That would be a win-win for both sexes."
So here it is—everything we wished we had understood when we were trying to learn how to cope with the thrilling, terrifying new world of women, sex, and dating.
Welcome to Mate.
THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF MATING SUCCESS
When you first start to study a field, it seems like you have to memorize a zillion things. You don't. What you need is to identify the core principles—generally three to twelve of them—that govern the field. The million things you thought you had to memorize are simply various combinations of the core principles.
Mating is not a checklist of sex facts and dating tactics. There is no one-size-fits-all inventory of actions you must figure out, memorize, and complete in order. That would be nonsense. Almost nothing in life works like a scavenger hunt at a pub crawl. Don't let anyone tell you any different.
As with most things in life, mating is a complex system with a deep evolutionary logic and a few essential principles at its core. To be successful at it, you must understand these principles and then apply them to your choices and actions in the infinite number of situations you will find yourself in over the course of your life.
The goal of this book is to teach you how and where to apply those principles. The goal of this chapter is to teach you the principles themselves.
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE: MAKE DECISIONS WITH SCIENCE (NOT BIAS)
Most of the dating advice rampaging through our culture is outdated, irrelevant, or sex-negative. It got that way for one overwhelming reason: none of it is based on an empirical understanding of how humans and human mating actually work.
Instead, the conventional wisdom about dating has been defined by political and religious ideologies, family traditions, and cultural norms whose self-serving notions of how the world should work shaped their ideas (and most likely yours). We are going to teach you a completely different approach, one based on science and evidence.
There has never been a better time for this kind of examination than today. The science of human mating has flourished in the last thirty years, with astonishing new theories and findings in fields such as evolutionary psychology, hunter-gatherer anthropology, psychometrics, behavior genetics, and animal communication. Today, we can offer deeper insights, more evidence, and a more systematic perspective on mating than any culture ever could at any previous point in history.
We can explain not just what works with women, but why it works. We can explain not just what kind of traits you should develop to attract the women you're most attracted to, but how to develop those traits in the most efficient ways possible.
Using science and evidence to guide your mating life isn't just practical; it's also ethical. Science respects reality and helps you take responsibility for what you believe, while resisting dogma, superstition, and overconfidence in the process. Thinking critically, testing hypotheses, assessing evidence, and gauging feedback isn't just something researchers do in labs; it's also something you should do in your mating life, and we are going to show you how.
But first understand the principle: make decisions about what you believe based on the best scientific, empirical evidence you can find.
THE SECOND PRINCIPLE: ACCOUNT FOR THE WOMAN'S PERSPECTIVE
You obviously have a perspective on mating. But what so many guys fail to account for is that women have their own perspective, and it is different than yours. You have to understand it and account for it to be successful in mating.
If you don't understand women right now, that is no accident. Women evolved to be more complicated than you can understand so they could protect themselves from being seduced, manipulated, and exploited.
But trying to attract women without understanding that and them—who they are, what they want, what they're attracted to—is like heading out into the wilderness and trying to find your way through without a map or compass. It will just get you more lost—which is exactly the problem most guys face.
Sure, you could be a stubborn idiot and continue wandering around, guided by the North Star of your ridiculous sexual fantasies until finally you bump into someone willing to put up with your bullshit. But that's the fast track to becoming a forty-year-old divorced loser living alone in a man cave, surrounded by resentment, shame, and regret. There is another option: you could get out of your head and into women's heads—with curiosity, respect, and a commitment to mutual benefit. That's the fast track to mating success.
So, throughout this book, we'll focus on understanding women on several levels:
• why women evolved to have certain sexual concerns and preferences, given how prehistoric mating worked
• why women seek good genes, good partners, and good dads—not necessarily from the same guy
• why women feel anxious and vulnerable about sexual harassment, stalking, rape, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unwanted pregnancies, and slut-shaming
• why different women seek different sexual experiences and relationships under different conditions with different guys, from hookups to boyfriends to husbands
• why women value some key attractive traits in men, such as physical health, mental health, intelligence, willpower, kindness, and protectiveness
• why women value some key proofs of mate value in men, such as social success, material success, aesthetic style, and romantic commitment
• where women go to meet men, and how the supply-and-demand dynamics work in those mating markets
All of this boils down to a simple principle: If you always try to understand the woman's perspective—what they want, why they want it, and how to ethically give it to them—then you will find it much easier to become attractive to them, and you'll be much more successful with your mating efforts.
THE THIRD PRINCIPLE: OWN YOUR ATTRACTIVENESS
One of the main things we will teach you in this book is how to be attractive to women—specifically, how to develop the traits they find attractive. If you develop them well, we can guarantee that you will find mating success.
But this is just a guide—for it to work, you must do the work. You didn't choose which genes you inherited or what family you grew up in. But from this day forward, you must take personal responsibility for your life, your choices, your habits, your traits, your mate value, and your attractiveness to women.
Nobody else can do this work for you. Taking responsibility for your personal growth and social attractiveness has been a core principle from the ancient Stoics through Nietzsche and from existentialism to modern psychotherapy; it's acknowledging your ethical duty to yourself, your future potential, your free will, and your personal autonomy.
The reason we emphasize this is because women don't really "choose" to be attracted to you. They are attracted to some features (biologically, which we explain in depth later) and not attracted to others. Thus, whether or not a particular woman will be attracted to you is largely in your hands. You have to seize the opportunity to make yourself attractive to her. You can pretend you don't have a choice, that you don't have the time, brains, or resources to raise your game. But then you've simply talked yourself into perpetual mediocrity.
The downside of taking responsibility for your attractiveness is that becoming a better man will take a good amount of work. The upside is that taking charge of your attractiveness will help you have great experiences and relationships with great women that yield benefits in every other domain of life: health, money, happiness, altruism, and self-actualization.
This is because the "better boyfriend" ideal overlaps a lot with the ideals of manhood that most men aspire to. If you make yourself highly attractive to women, an amazing life tends to be a natural byproduct. For men, at least, sexual self-improvement is the road to a better overall life.
THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE: BE HONEST (WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS)
Honesty is the bedrock of self-improvement and mating success.
If you try to fool yourself about what you really want, you'll never form the type of life you want and implement the actions necessary to get it. There are plenty of women out there who want the kind of sexual experience or relationship that you want; you just have to find them. But you can't find them if you're not honest—with them or yourself.
Honesty builds your social status, which improves mating success over the long term. Most women expect that most men are lying most of the time, and they hate it. In a world of liars, seducers, and charlatans, the man who stands up and tells the truth about the world, about himself, and about what he really wants is very rare and very attractive. There is a reason most women list honesty as one of their most-desired traits.
We are not trying to tell you that honesty is the only thing that works. Of course there are ways you can lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate your way into success. A lot of them, in fact. And we know most or all of those methods very well (learning what works often involves trying things that don't).
We aren't going to teach those methods, nor do we endorse them, because they actually hurt you in two ways:
1. Lying reduces your long-term mating success: Once a woman sees you as a liar, there is no coming back from that. She will almost certainly tell her friends about you, and when she does you become a pariah. Of course, you can find other women to exploit and lie to, but that is a very difficult path to long-term mating success. It is far easier to have long-term social relationships based on trust than to lie through your teeth and have to make new relationships over and over again.
2. Lying makes you feel like shit, and it hurts your life: The only people who can lie without emotional consequences are sociopaths. For everyone else, there are real psychological harms that come with deception. The evidence is very clear that perpetual liars have less career success, less mating success, less satisfaction in their relationships, and even shorter lives.
So if you want to learn how to lie, cheat, and manipulate women, this is the wrong book for you. We aren't moralizing or telling you to be honest for any reason other than this one:
An honest, ethical approach to mating (and life) works the best in the long term.
THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE: PLAY TO WIN-WIN
Some in society hold the cynical view that sexual relationships are a zero-sum game, meaning one person's gain is the other person's loss. This view says that in a one-night stand, the man is the seducer and the woman gets seduced, he "wins" and she "loses." In a relationship, if a man and a woman argue, one must win and the other must lose. In sexual politics, feminism's gain is patriarchy's loss. This zero-sum way of thinking assumes a perpetual "battle of the sexes," and sadly, it is common in both gender feminism and the manosphere.
This "battle of the sexes" view is totally, completely wrong. It is counterproductive, counterintuitive, and counter to thousands of generations of evolution. That is why we endorse the opposite principle:
Your mating goal is to find and create "win-win" relationships, where both you and the woman are better off because of your interaction.
Think about why you do anything that involves interacting with other people—it's because you expect to get value from it. You give a cashier money for a coffee because you value the coffee more than what you're paying for it. (This is economic trade, the foundational idea behind capitalism.) If economic trade wasn't positive-sum, then neither buyer nor seller would agree to the exchange.
The same basic principle works with friendships: you enjoy hanging out with the guys in your crew because you all benefit—or else you'd just leave. Those relationships are "win-win" as well.
This is also how human mating works when it's done honestly and ethically. Mutual benefits are the expectation, not the exception, because people avoid relationships where they don't benefit. If human mating wasn't mostly a positive-sum game that yielded "win-win" experiences and relationships, then neither sex would agree to play the game in the first place.
Don't think of mating as fighting women for victory. They are not your enemy. Think of mating as finding women who want the same things you want—so you can both win.
If you only want one-night stands, then we'll tell you how to find women who also want one-night stands (and there are many). You two can have sex, not talk to each other again, and you both got what you wanted, so you're both better off.
If you want to have a casual dating relationship that includes sex and companionship, then we'll tell you how to find women who want that. You two can have sex, hang out, have fun, and not commit or get into deep emotional ties, and you both get what you wanted.
If you want to find a woman to marry and build a life with, then we'll tell you how to find a woman who wants that as well. You two can explore each other, develop a relationship, commit, and have a great life together, and you both win.
The point is that when you both approach relationships from this perspective, it enables you both to win, which is the best option for everyone.
FROM THE FIVE PRINCIPLES TO THE FIVE-STEP PROCESS
As a way to guide your decisions and actions, these principles work. But principles alone are not good enough. Men also need a clear set of instructions for specific actions. That is what the rest of this book is about: a five-step process that boils everything you need to do down to the simplest possible set of facts to learn, choices to make, and actions to take.
The five steps are
1. Get your head straight: Fix your mental framework for thinking about women, sex, and dating; replace antique nonsense with state-of-the-art insights; develop confidence, understand women's points of view, and clarify your mating ethics and mating goals.
2. Develop attractive traits: Understand what women want in men and why, and then give it to them by cultivating the key traits of physical health, mental health, intelligence, willpower, tenderness, and protectiveness.
3. Display attractive proofs: Understand the signaling principles that underlie honest, hard-to-fake proofs of value, and construct your personal, professional, social, and romantic life around building and displaying those proofs.
4. Go where the women are: Understand how mating markets work, given the supply and demand of men and women; how to find women who offer the highest value and best compatibility, given your tastes and goals; and how to meet those women in specific places, from local leisure clubs to online dating apps.
5. Take action: Understand how to talk to women, date them, have great sex with them, and learn from your experiences to build a positive-feedback cycle of personal improvement, sexual experience, and delighted women. All of which will help you create and execute your mating plan.
These steps are simple to understand, but they're not always easy to accomplish. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you bullshit. We are not offering a get-laid-quick scheme. We know that a third of the dudes who bought this book haven't even read this far yet. Another third will skim the rest of this book, think some of it is cool, recommend it to their friends, and fail to change their lives or improve their mating success in any significant way.
This book is really for the last third of you—the smart, hungry guys who will get inspired to think, choose, and act. You're the guys who will bring these five principles alive. You're the guys who will delight the women in your lives—and who will be the envy of the guys who may never read this far.
THE FIVE-STEP PROCESS TO MATING SUCCESS
Get Your Head Straight
CHAPTER 1: BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE
Confidence doesn't come out of nowhere. It's a result of something… hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.
- "Every single page has interesting information. A great resource."—Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of the Loveline radio show and Dr. Drew On Call on HLN
- "The most unexpected book of the year: World-famous evolutionary psychologist meets world-famous drunken asshole. The result: A sober, solid, necessary, and authoritative guide not just to dating, but to becoming a better man."—Neil Strauss, author of New York Times bestseller The Game and The Truth
- "I wish I could teleport a copy of Mate back in time and give it to my 13-year-old self, and then instruct him to read it once a year for the next decade."—Jake Seliger, author and founder of The Story's Story
- "From the very beginning, this book plays it straight. It's about becoming a better person and creating positive, fulfilling relationships. This isn't a book with a predatory, pickup artist mindset."—Aubrey Marcus, founder of Onnit Fitness and the Aubrey Marcus Podcast
- "A fascinating look at mating and dating from the perspective of a guy who gained fame for doing the former.... Miller's academic influence gives it some much needed credibility."—Adam Kovac, AskMen.com
- On Sale
- Sep 15, 2015
- Page Count
- 384 pages
- Little, Brown and Company