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JoshuaZ comments on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge - Less Wrong

138 Post author: lukeprog 20 January 2011 08:44PM

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Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 January 2011 04:41:44AM 4 points [-]

Some of these seem also just designed to cause maximum drama. Consider:

Let your man pay. If he is interested, he is interested enough to ensure you eat well and get home safely in a cab.

Many females I've dated get actively offended if I the guys try to pay rather than splitting the bill. And frankly, they have a right to be offended, giving the historical double standards that are associated with this sort of thing. That someone is trying to get females to insist on this while others use it as a test in the opposite direction? Yeah, this isn't going to lead to problems at all.

Comment author: wedrifid 23 January 2011 05:03:13AM 12 points [-]

Many females I've dated get actively offended if I the guys try to pay rather than splitting the bill. And frankly, they have a right to be offended

I wouldn't want to deny anyone the right to be offended at anything they please but for my part I would bid them politely goodnight and delete their phone number. Getting actively offended over things that are not a big deal is a huge red flag. It indicates either specific emotional issues or a generally high maintenance personality. I'll leave those girls to you Josh. :)

Some sample sane responses in such circumstances:

  • No, we'll split it.
  • Hey, none of that, Neanderthal! (With a smile and or fake arm slap to indicate lightheartedness. Equivalent to assertiveness with humor.)

Ideal response:

  • Sure, but I've got the next one!

This follows from a general principle that a propensity for taking offence is an unattractive trait and an indicator of immature boundaries. If you want something different ask for it or actively make it happen.

Comment author: anon895 24 January 2011 01:19:11PM 0 points [-]
  • No, we'll split it.

From what I've read, being able to credibly offer a free meal is a critical tool in some men's dating arsenal. Changing it to "well, if you want I'll pay, but I'd be really grateful if you'd chip in too" could leave him substantially weakened. Her making decisions on his behalf and talking about them as a couple after one date also seems like a bad sign.

  • Hey, none of that, Neanderthal! (With a smile and or fake arm slap to indicate lightheartedness. Equivalent to assertiveness with humor.)

"Ha, ha! It's funny because she insulted me and dismissed my sex's relevance as economic agents!"

  • Sure, but I've got the next one!

"So just because I was curious enough to spend some money to get to know her better, suddenly I'm at her beck and call? What kind of spineless plaything does she see me as?"

...and that's one of many reasons I hope I don't need to date.

Comment author: wedrifid 25 January 2011 02:55:51AM *  6 points [-]

Wow. All those could technically be valid interpretations. That's where things like body language and confidence come in. There is something to be said for interpreting everything in the best possible light. Occasionally (dependent highly on context) even when you know they intended it to be critical. (Although in this case they didn't).

  • Hey, none of that, Neanderthal! (With a smile and or fake arm slap to indicate lightheartedness. Equivalent to assertiveness with humor.)

"Ha, ha! It's funny because she insulted me and dismissed my sex's relevance as economic agents!"

For my part I find the ability to mock tradition and culture without getting personally insulted by it kind of endearing. In this case, again depending rather significantly on cues in the context, I would quite possibly go ahead and be sure to open doors for her and move her to the side of the pavement farthest from the road. Because teasing each other is fun, life isn't meant to be taken seriously and, incidentally, because it would be role playing the masculine stereotype light-heartedly.

Incidentally I don't consider 'Neanderthal' to be an insult. Neanderthals were awesome. ;)

Comment author: [deleted] 23 January 2011 04:59:18AM 6 points [-]

Many females I've dated get actively offended if I the guys try to pay rather than splitting the bill. And frankly, they have a right to be offended, giving the historical double standards that are associated with this sort of thing.

I have to admit, when I was dating, I would always offer to pay half the bill -- but I never went on a second date with any guy who took me up on it. I know this goes against the general policy of forthrightness that I otherwise followed, and I can't really defend the practice rationally. It probably was an area where I was following drives I didn't fully understand, maybe something about finding a man who was capable of the old-fashioned, stand-up, protect & provide business.

In any case I would definitely advise men to offer to pay on the first date. I mean, don't insist on it, but showing that you have money, and aren't stingy with it, is generally an attractive thing.

Comment author: Alicorn 23 January 2011 08:12:46PM 3 points [-]

When my date pays for things/establishes a trend of paying for things, it gives me permission not to fuss about money. I am very, very inclined to fuss about money if any of the money involved is mine, so I find it a huge load off my mind. (I go on first dates prepared to pay half if my date seems to prefer this idea when I ask, but preparing to do that before every date with a person I intended to see regularly would be rapidly exhausting for me, so I'd be leery of going on dates-that-could-cost-money with someone who doesn't demonstrate an inclination to pay - though this doesn't preclude 100% of possible second dates.)

Example: I recently dated a guy who took me out to movies (he paid), and we were trying to think of something else to do besides see movies. I proposed snow tubing, but then discovered that the only snow tubing place open in the area which had a device to pull the tubes up the hill was expensive. I dithered to him about this. If he had said something like "don't worry about that, I've got it", we would have gone snow tubing. He did not, so we didn't. (This didn't preclude another movie date after this non-event.)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 24 January 2011 01:02:59AM *  7 points [-]

I think the relevant joke and intended consequences is something like:

  1. I insert an obvious derogatory remark about a tribal group you are very loosely affiliated with.

  2. Since I am closely affiliated with that tribal group, this comment acts as a countersignal and ironically signals affiliation with that group. This also works because the group in question has a history of countersignaling in this fashion and calling it "humor".

  3. Since a disproportionate fraction up LW readers have past or present emotional connections to that tribal group, this raises my status at LW.

  4. (Something else very Hansonian occurs here)

  5. Profit.

ETA: And actually, this post also signals affiliation with nerdy internet people. Now if only I can find a way to simultaneous signal with people concerned about FAI and signal affiliation with paperclip maximizers, then I'm all set.

Comment author: Nornagest 26 January 2011 07:07:45PM 1 point [-]

Voted up for being funny. This probably proves some kind of point, doesn't it?

Comment author: arundelo 24 January 2011 06:10:51AM 5 points [-]

This is a nice example of a division of labor based on relative strengths (at least when your partner does not happen to have a similar aversion). For me, such a division is preferable to the idea that roles in (heterosexual) relationships are determined by the sexes of the respective partners.

Comment author: Alicorn 24 January 2011 12:43:05PM *  1 point [-]

Yeah, I'd have similar preferences if I dated a girl. (I have been in relationships with girls, but never in the "we will go to a place and spend money on food/an activity" style of relationship.)

Comment author: rastilin 25 January 2011 10:44:03AM -1 points [-]

You mean the relative strengths of having money versus being a woman? I'm not seeing the division here.

Comment author: shokwave 25 January 2011 10:54:21AM 1 point [-]

The division is that Alicorn is not strong with money; she lets her date sort out the money because (while not necessarily strong with money absolute) they are stronger with money than her. Relatively, the date is stronger, so they do the labour of paying.

One possible reason for someone being strong with money is they have lots of it.

Arundelo is making the point that it could have turned out that Alicorn was strong with money and her date was not; in this case Alicorn would have paid. It was not a case of "man pays, woman doesn't." It was a case of "those who can most pay, pay."

Comment author: rastilin 25 January 2011 11:06:33AM *  1 point [-]

That's not the impression I got. The date ended up paying because Alicorn didn't want to, and the date not paying would have led to fewer dates. She stated she was prepared to pay half, not prepared to pay full like her date was doing.

(I go on first dates prepared to pay half if my date seems to prefer this idea when I ask, but preparing to do that before every date with a person I intended to see ?regularly would be rapidly exhausting for me, so I'd be leery of going on dates-that-could-cost-money with someone who doesn't demonstrate an inclination to pay

In the comment just next to mine, she says...

Yeah, I'd have similar preferences if I dated a girl. (I have been in relationships with girls, but never in the "we will go to a place and spend money on food/an activity" style of relationship.)

Which illustrates the reasoning behind PUA advice being to split the bill. It explicitly states that she should only bother spending time with you for your company. If the idea that you two would work out something that didn't involve spending money never comes up, then she just wasn't into you.

Comment author: shokwave 25 January 2011 12:35:01PM 0 points [-]

That's not the impression I got.

It's the impression arundelo got exactly, unless I miss my mark.

Comment author: arundelo 26 January 2011 03:13:41AM *  0 points [-]

The relative strengths of having money versus whatever Alicorn is strong at.

(To be precise, it's a matter of comparative advantage rather than strength, with the proviso that if Alicorn's partner is even worse than her at spending money, they probably won't do many spending-money dates at all.)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 January 2011 08:31:28PM -1 points [-]

When my date pays for things/establishes a trend of paying for things, it gives me permission not to fuss about money. I am very, very inclined to fuss about money if any of the money involved is mine, so I find it a huge load off my mind.

Resisting temptation to make obvious joke about your paternal ancestry...

Comment author: wedrifid 24 January 2011 12:04:58AM 0 points [-]

I've scoured the paragraph for possible allusions to make. None of the jokes I can construct are obvious enough to be particularly funny. Bother.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 24 January 2011 12:35:34AM *  4 points [-]

Alicorn is of Jewish ancestry on the paternal side. The real issue is that the obvious jokes just aren't very funny.

Comment author: Alicorn 24 January 2011 12:47:45AM *  -2 points [-]

I'm not even sure what the "obvious jokes" are given the hint about my dad's side of the family being Jewish.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 24 January 2011 12:52:38AM 3 points [-]

Something along the lines of "ah, and here we see confirmation of your Jewish ancestry." The joke I was thinking of was simply that your concerns about money as expressed fit very well with negative stereotypes about Jews and money. It really isn't that funny and is probably anti-humorous when one has to explain it to this level.

Comment author: wedrifid 23 January 2011 05:07:33AM *  3 points [-]

<indication of scorn for whoever it was who downvoted the parent for honesty and self awareness/>

Mind you the parent completely reverses the impression given by the earlier comment of "Wow, that's an attitude of the perfect girl for a nerd to be dating!"

Comment author: [deleted] 23 January 2011 05:28:56AM 3 points [-]

Mind you the parent completely reverses the impression given by the earlier comment of "Wow, that's an attitude of the perfect girl for a nerd to be dating!"

I know! I wasn't even aware of it as inconsistent at the time.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 January 2011 05:20:17AM 2 points [-]

Mind you the parent completely reverses the impression given by the earlier comment of "Wow, that's an attitude of the perfect girl for a nerd to be dating!"

Well, humans have lots of different behaviors and variation. It is extremely unlikely that anyone is going to be perfect. Moreover, everyone is influenced by cultural norms. As far as I can tell, that sort of thing is evidence more that people should try not to use any single warning sign as an absolute deal-killer unless it is very severe.

Comment author: wedrifid 23 January 2011 05:43:33AM 1 point [-]

It is extremely unlikely that anyone is going to be perfect.

Naturally. siduri's earlier comment indicated that she was an extreme outlier in terms of preferences and and proactive forthrightness. This additional trait just serves as a regression to the mean.

Comment author: taryneast 24 January 2011 11:42:38AM 2 points [-]

I have never had a guy offer to pay for my dinner. I guess Aussie blokes just don't tend to do that kind of thing. I think that if anyone ever did - I'd be so surprised that I'd accept. I'd certainly be happy to pay for the next meal (or coffee or whatever).

I'm told that, during WWII, the American soldiers that were stationed in Australia cleaned up on the dating scene - because they happened to still use those traditional behaviours. ;)

I totally understand the inclination to get upset if being treated unfairly - but these days, I'm pretty sure that most guys that hold a door open for you are not doing it because they think I'm incapable of doing it myself... so I smile and say thank you, and make sure I pay it forward for somebody else next time I have the opportunity.

Comment author: khafra 25 January 2011 12:01:27AM 3 points [-]

It seems that, steadfast allies as American GIs may have been to the ANZAC forces during combat, on the home front they were ruthless-if unknowing-defectors

Comment author: MartinB 23 January 2011 06:13:17PM 2 points [-]

but I never went on a second date with any guy who took me up on it

I doubt you followed that rule consistently. It looks like to much of a unimportant minimal indicator that should be superseded by the rest of the date.

But if you poll enough women you will find many such statements that contradict with the ones other women give. Getting angry for paying the bill, getting angry for not paying the bill. Expecting him to hold the door. Getting angry holding doors for her. There is no standard rule set to follow. And i find it ridiculous how women (or anyone) expect others to just know what they want without ever bothering to tell them.

Comment author: [deleted] 23 January 2011 07:02:46PM 6 points [-]

Another way of thinking about it might be that "paying the bill" or "not holding the door" are indicators of the man's personality, rather than terminal values of the woman. In this case, telling the man "I expect you to pay the bill" is counter-productive. It doesn't actually achieve anything the woman wants -- what she wants (in this hypothetical) is a man that would do this on his own. It merely eliminates "paying the bill" as a useful indicator of personality.

Granted, this strategy doesn't work well on a man who doesn't have an opinion on the matter and just wants to make the woman happy, but it's a plausible explanation.

Comment author: [deleted] 23 January 2011 07:35:41PM 3 points [-]

I think a lot of women are looking for a man who can create romantic experiences, start to finish, for them. I think that's what the "bill paying" business is really about. (If it were about money you could just ask what he does for a living.) And it's fun once in a while when someone has orchestrated an entire evening for you and taken care of all the details for you. But if you expect that regularly and don't reciprocate... I guess I disapprove of that. It reduces him to "The Guy Who Brings The Fun Stuff."