The Private Man

Attraction and dating information for all men

The Clooney Effect (Snort, chuckle, guffaw)

The good folks at The Atlantic recently typed this article about a study from Helen Fisher that was funded by Match.com. (Trigger warning: advocacy research). There is no mention of how the data was collected, there is only mention of the 5,600 that were surveyed. Is that the number of responses or the number of people who decided to respond to the survey.

Problem #1 – The study was funded by Match.com, part of a huge online dating conglomerate. It’s in Match.com’s vested financial interest to have data that encourages singles to sign up for new accounts or keep renewing their existing accounts.

Problem #2 – The people who respond to such surveys cannot be counted as a “norm”. People who decide to respond are of a certain personality type. Can we trust that the respondees be representational of the population of singles at large?

Problem #3 – There is no breakdown of age and location in the results presented. Are these boomers, Gen X or Y?, Millenials? The devil is in the details.

Fisher’s findings offer a solution to a classic problem in economic mating theory: Are men afraid of over-educated women?

Fisher offers a resounding “no” to that question, using pop culture as validation. In what she amusingly calls the Clooney Effect, Fisher describes the phenomenon of men wanting to marry women who were independent and self-reliant in relationships. “When even a lifelong bachelor like George Clooney settles down, you know things are changing,” writes Fisher of her tongue-in-cheek term, which recalls the actor’s marriage to Amal Alamuddin, an accomplished human-rights barrister.

Never use pop culture as an example. George Clooney is hardly representational of middle aged single guys. #Eyeroll. Clooney is a one-off. How about the millions of ordinary guys? The comparison to Clooney makes me believe that the study’s results are for a female audience hoping that a Clooney-type man will message them on Match.com and he’ll be her soulmate and rescue her from all her problems.

That women can be better educated than men in a relationship flies in the face of a demographic debate on marital sorting instigated by the late economist Gary Becker. In a chapter he wrote for a volume on family economics, Becker argued that men and women are more likely to be in relationships with their physical and intellectual peers, at least in theory. He believed that it’s economically advantageous for us to find our intellectual equal: The benefits are a long, healthy, satisfying partnership; the cost is a partnership that falls apart, separation, maybe divorce.

But this theory wasn’t exactly palatable to some critics, who found reality to differ from Becker’s ivy tower surmising. One such critic, William Goode, wrote in a postscript to Becker’s chapter,

… For a man with little education, a wife with very much education is not worth as much as one would suppose from her money value on the larger market. She is a less-fit wife for him … and he would be supported in this low evaluation by his social circle.

Becker’s theory of equality of spouses was perhaps ahead of its time. “Over-educated” females were often doomed for spinsterhood, as men were frightened and/or turned off by an intellectually superior woman. Women of previous generations had to choose between a husband or further education, and, until the Baby Boomers came of age and reversed the male dominance in higher education, societal expectations often made marriage the only palatable choice for females. Women, in other words, could not have it all.

Um, no one can “have it all”. That fairy tale keeps being repeated, especially when it relates to online dating. That fairy tale is nothing more than emotional pornography.  Men are not “frightened” by educated women. Men will boink ’em but are simply hesitant to commit to them. Women will not want to commit to them because of hypergamy.
Frankly, that survey is about the economics of dating, not the reality of attraction.

Fisher’s statistics are indicative of a social countercurrent, one that radically changes the gendered roles in traditional marriages and creates an altered image of what modern marriage is held to be. Women who are empowered, independent, and smart expect the same from their partner: 89 percent want a partner who is independent, 86 percent want a partner who is at least as intelligent as they are, 55 percent aren’t willing to support their partner financially, and 61 percent claim not being as intelligent as them is an automatic deal killer, according to the Match.com findings.

“When even a lifelong bachelor like George Clooney settles down, you know things are changing.”

What’s fascinating is the men’s responses to these questions gives credence to Becker’s theory, and then some: 87 percent of men would date a woman who makes more money, 90 percent like it when the woman makes the first move and asks them out, 87 percent would date a woman perceived more intelligent than them, 86 percent are turned on by a “confident” woman.

86% of men claim to want a confident woman because so many women claim to be confident. Men are not stupid. They market themselves to be more attractive to women. It’s a vicious circle and no one gets what they want in the attraction and dating game.

Why is it that men are more willing to have a smarter woman by their side and woman won’t settle for someone less than intellectually ideal? In short, women can demand more, and know it. The apocalyptic threats by old-school mothers of shortages of men as women crept towards their 30s have become less threatening. Men don’t desire damsels in distress, and women don’t want breadwinners. Modern marriage is a partnership, and both men and women expect their partners to be their equal intellectually and personally.

Actually, women do want bread-winners, they are just afraid to say it because of current social expectations and they don’t want to be perceived as gold-diggers. But I read the online dating profiles. So many women want a financially secure guy. They state it flat-out in their profiles. They also state that they are financially independent in the same profile! Cognitive dissonance much? Go ahead guys, lose a job. Watch how quickly a woman pulls back. Women demand security. This is why they insist on a taller guy. This is hypergamy. This is biology. This is how it works.

That’s not to say that Fisher’s Clooney Effect is flawless. Any psychologist will state that appearance is still the number one factor in bringing two people together, and that it takes more than a singular trait (in this case, intelligence) to create a strong, long-lasting bond.

Well, that’s right, to a point. Clooney is a good-looking and incredibly successful guy in the public spotlight. Good for him. His new bride is a good-looking and successful dame in her own right. But he’s higher up the social food chain. Again, this is hypergamy. This is all women. The  one you are dating is not a special snowflake. All women are like this. Every. Single. One. Once a guy with better prospects than you shows up, she’s gone and you’re done. Charisma works for a bit, to be sure, but if you can’t provide that security she demands then you’re useless to her.

Nevertheless, Fisher’s is a revolutionary view of marriage, one that for millennia has focused its attention on women as the objectified party with little to offer beyond children and caring for a household. Men, according to this study, want their wives—partners, really—to be able to take on the world, live their lives, and have an identity that doesn’t necessarily mean adopting their last name.

This is a study funded by an online dating company. In order to make money, the study’s results has to encourage those monthly subscription fees. Here’s the real secret – women want a successful, confident man. So, through the awesome power of psychological projection – they assume that men want the same in women. “I’m a strong and independent woman” reads the countless profiles. Men, not being stupid, write that they desire a strong and independent woman. Hey, that’s what all the dames are claiming. Consider this, the study indicates that 55% of women wont support a man, or so they claim. Damn, it’s not always easy to separate words from actions, but it’s possible.

After all, as the Clooney Effect’s name suggests, it’s George who gained from marrying the beautiful, smart, independent Amal. As a commentator noted on Time after the couple made their first post-marriage appearance at this year’s Golden Globes, “We always thought that she was the woman who finally snared George Clooney, but it’s the other way around. And we’re all better off for it.”

No, she gained. She married the most elusive bachelor on the planet. She married the man who no woman could lock down. Granted, he’s a fucking idiot of doing so but it’s her value that increased. She now has the ultimate bragging rights. And bragging rights are a huge part of what women want… every… single… woman.

TL, DR – In online dating profiles, men state that they want strong and financially independent women. That’s because women state that they are strong and independent. In the economics of attraction and dating, this is the current landscape.

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14 thoughts on “The Clooney Effect (Snort, chuckle, guffaw)

  1. Matt on said:

    I’m the best offer a lot of women will ever get, but they are too deluded to realize it. Their loss.

    As far as what I want, I want a competent woman, not some princess that I have to constantly rescue from situations she created.

  2. Johnny Doe on said:

    ” The comparison to Clooney makes me believe that the study’s results are for a female audience hoping that a Clooney-type man will message them on Match.com and he’ll be her soulmate and rescue her from all her problems.”
    ====

    True. The problem that women won’t tackle is…a Clooney clone is not only NOT going to have to dumpster dive on an OLD site, but he’s got better things to do with his life–such as shooting the next movie heading for the one place that got him his pub that an average guy won’t ever realize: a movie screen near you.

    That aside, even in 2015, I still get an all-out ROFLMAO when I browse women online “looking for a REAL MAN”, you know, because a “REAL MAN” once again is going to be using OLD also as if women know how to judge what a “REAL MAN” is in the first place. I’m sure that’s nothing more than baiting white knights, but let’s put that aside for another evening.

    “Becker argued that men and women are more likely to be in relationships with their physical and intellectual peers, at least in theory. He believed that it’s economically advantageous for us to find our intellectual equal: The benefits are a long, healthy, satisfying partnership; the cost is a partnership that falls apart, separation, maybe divorce.”
    ====

    In theory…maybe. Unfortunately, it’s not yin and yin or yang and yang that mesh together–it’s yin and yang. As long as a woman isn’t a complete social retard and has some actual innate instinct in regards to helping raise a family, I’m fine. If she wants to spend $200k on attending a private lib arts school and $200k more attending medical school…congrats! In the meantime, enjoy those cats, because daddy better have paid that tuition, because I’m not doing so for a 30+ woman. Intellectual peership hasn’t really helped the average family that now needs two incomes to afford a house on shaky terms, but it’s not like Match.com makes it’s living by actually pairing up people. So, that’s that.

    “Um, no one can “have it all”. That fairy tale keeps being repeated, especially when it relates to online dating.”
    ===

    True. Guys deal with this, but why not those empowered women? I realized that for me to get anywhere, I had to lay off the social life at times and then work jobs that took me away from dateable women for months at a time. Oh well. OTOH, much younger women (I’m 35) light up when I mention that I got my masters this past fall. I’m okay with that, since I’m not naive to how things work. But, women at my age trying to date younger and be taken seriously? No dice.

    “Men are not “frightened” by educated women.”
    ===

    Rightfully so. That’s fine that women have come to the grownup table to eat. Welcome! Just don’t expect me to take that masters in some gender studies field seriously, though.

    “Women who are empowered, independent, and smart expect the same from their partner”
    ===

    Even when none of the above applies (way more often than not), women still make that demand. Remember that “Would you be okay with a partner having a minimum wage job they enjoyed?” type question on OKStupid? I imagine it’s still around. Most guys were probably okay with a wife having a job that keeps her occupied. Women? “Oh, hell no!” I saw those answers in my feed way back when I was on that site. Yes, it was worth a chuckle. It’s like women moaning that they hate a man who is in control, yet they keep dating those “control freak” men who won’t let them get over on them. Yet, look under “First Date” on a site like POF–when the lesser-minded aren’t talking about their actual first date–and it’s nearly unanimously “It’s the man’s job to plan it!”.

    “Charisma works for a bit, to be sure, but if you can’t provide that security she demands then you’re useless to her.”
    ====

    No doubt. Charisma certainly helps versus a guy who’s a bump on a long, although approximately equally good looking. On the flip side, Amal Alamuddin didn’t wait until age 36 to marry any relatively anonymous fellow who might have been just thrilled with her life’s resume. Granted, most men know better than to marry a lawyer of any sort, but I’m betting she was aiming high and struck out until she stumbled into George, who may have needed another challenge in life. Fair enough. Of note, Mrs Clooney has a teaching gig at Columbia. While admirable at face value, why not ply her trade for aspiring law students at a community college or public school of lesser reputation? That ambition doesn’t fly for most guys. It just doesn’t. I deal with enough “ambitious” go-getter type a-holes on the job. I don’t want to snuggle up with one as well.

    “Granted, he’s a fucking idiot of doing so but it’s her value that increased.”
    ===

    Truth. Lawyer women are a dime a dozen compared to the high status guys that make it to the big screen.

    “In online dating profiles, men state that they want strong and financially independent women. That’s because women state that they are strong and independent.”
    ====

    I wonder what kind of luck I could have if I dusted off the inactive Match.com profile and made it clear to women that I don’t care about their love for sports, traveling, desire to see the world and all that other gobbledygook that makes them comes across as tryhards with long hair? Wasn’t it the fact that they felt that they had to measure up to men–because men had to put up a good show for women in the first place–that has spiraled the dating world into the current mess? Just saying…

  3. On my profile I say that I don’t care how ‘strong and independent’ they are.

    It really shouldn’t be a big deal. We all dress ourselves, have bills to pay, and get through our lives day by day. That is strength and independence.

    I have a checklist for women that consists of two criteria:
    1. Pretty
    2. Kind

    All this “RAWWWRR!, I’m strong and independent ” stuff from women is just noise.

  4. At least in London, it’s very difficult to find men for speed dating, match dates and the like. There are anecdotes of the organisers calling their mates and dragging men in off the street. Seems that the dating agencies are in the same position: their market is women, not men.

    The London Underground has posters of trim late-twenty types laughing sympathetically at each other’s awful jokes and bad cooking. So clearly aimed at women, because no man could identify with the male model they’ve chosen.

    I’ve watched the late-20’s career girls at the office go through speed-dating, online dating and the rest, and it never seems to work for them. But then, they don’t want to be married and can’t say so. Hence the whole dating / where-have-all-the-good-men-gone dance. Inside they can’t wait to hit The Wall and settle down with a good Merlot.

    What’s interesting is that the conventional dating agencies are all privately-held by corporations no-one has heard of. Tinder has the sky-high valuation and it’s dedicated to… hookups. Research talks and money… takes a limo.

    On That Marriage, I assumed that it was about positioning for his political career and protection for her (“Human rights lawyer found dead” – inside page 7 if she’s lucky. “George Clooney’s wife assassinated” – front page for weeks).

    Congratulations on the birthday and blog post count.

  5. Once again Private Man speaks the truth. The authors of that study are fools because they missed the obvious:
    1) Amal Clooney is attractive and exotic (both in nationality and because she lives in London),
    2) she is much younger than George Clooney (he’s 53 , she’s 37),
    3) the last girl George Clooney dated was Stacey Keibler, which proves George loves hot women more than intelligence.

    The lesson isn’t that men like intelligent women; it is that men like attractive feminine women that enhance their lives.

    Finally, does anyone think this marriage is actually going to last? There is already talk of trouble:
    http://www.classicalite.com/articles/15736/20150126/george-clooney-wife-amal-alamuddin-divorce-split-batman-net-worth.htm

  6. Clooney is a chump. If you marry a woman who is accustomed to bossing around other people, expect to get bossed around. Then disrespected. Then cheated on. Then divorced from. Then… you’re fucked.

    George, hot girls are everywhere. What, you need to go to Dubai?!

    • Hamster Tamer on said:

      See-wee-ous-wee! Then in the ULTIMATE icing to his chump move, ol’ George did NOT insist on a PRE-NUP! Thus the short to-the-point article linked to by E-B says that duh “highly educated” bee-ya**h could get HALF of Clooney’s $200Meg after just 4 months of warming his bed–AYFKM!?!?

      Ol’ Geo best move the divorce proceedings to France.

      • Shaun H on said:

        She’s only going to get half of what he earned during the marriage, and he half of hers.

  7. Tam the Bam on said:

    Oh and just to be a bit crude and obvious, she’s just about to hit that Levantine/MiddleEastern/ Gedrosian/North Indian wall that so often disappoints. Hard.
    Happily, her wifely virtues will continue to compensate.
    Beg pardon, was that rude and a bit of a Personal Remark? Do advise.
    As long as they’re Happy, that’s all that counts.

  8. feeriker on said:

    I deal with enough “ambitious” go-getter type a-holes on the job. I don’t want to snuggle up with one as well.

    BINGO.

    Unfortunately, the day that these “strong and independent” wimmenz finally get this through their thick heads will be the day on which pigs fly, the earth reverses its rotational direction, and Franklin Graham gets down on both knees and declares Allah to be the one true God.

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