That_hot_girlOne of the most common questions I receive involves being picky, the standards we adopt with women we try to pick up and date. There are two schools of thought in men’s dating advice: 1) if you’re inexperienced, then you should be less picky to build up as much experience and confidence as possible and then work up in sort of a ladder-rung way or 2) you should save yourself for the best and hottest girls immediately, since those are the ones you want to get with anyway.

I personally subscribe to the former and give that advice regularly. In my experience, newbies who are given the latter advice use it to find excuses to do nothing. Let’s be clear though: you should never go home with a girl who you think is NOT attractive. That’s called being desperate and pathetic. But I see a lot of guys pass up plenty of opportunities in the name of “having standards,” when I think in many cases, their “standards” are merely a defense mechanism in effort to avoid their fears — primarily their fear of rejection.

There’s a fine line between finding a girl unattractive and not being interested. The problem is guys who are inexperienced: 1) usually find most girls are attractive, and 2) have no idea what they’re interested in. I pose this questions to guys who are virgins or who have never had a girlfriend: How do you know what your type is? You don’t. You may have a vague idea, but until you experience something, ANYTHING, then you have no grounds to make these normative evaluations.

Guys will say that they aren’t really into women older than them, when they haven’t been with one. Some young guys really enjoy being with older women. Or a guy will say they aren’t into black girls. But how many black girls has he been with? Usually none.

My belief is that it’s hard to know what you want and what you prefer until you’ve experienced it in some form. I used to always think I wanted to date hot club promo girls and gogo-dancer types, and I actually found that I don’t enjoy them much. I also never thought that I was into black girls. But now that I’ve been with a few and enjoyed it, I’m open to them.

I tell guys that standards aren’t chosen, they’re earned. I refuse to date a dumb girl not because I have strong principles about intelligence, but because I’ve dated tons of stupid girls and I hated it. That standard has been earned.

But the most interesting facet of this is how it relates to looks in general. Another of the most popular questions in men’s dating advice is the so-called “How do I get 10’s?” question.

Here’s what I’ve found… You will never “get the 10’s.” You will always get 6’s, 7’s and 8’s. What will change is your perception of what a 10 is. What you deem a 10 now will eventually be what you perceive as a 7 after 30-40 lays. And what you deem a 10 then, will become a 7 after another 50 or so. Women I used to think were absolutely stunning and totally out of my league years ago, I perceive as my bread and butter today. This isn’t because my game has improved dramatically (it hasn’t). What’s changed is my self-perception, my confidence, my experience, my expectations, and my lifestyle. All have grown and matured and now I view those women who I thought were out of my league before, I view them as my equals now.

I used to see 2-3 so-called “10’s” on any given week. Now, I go months between sightings. They didn’t change; I did. As I grow, what I perceive as suitable girls dwindle, and the number of girls I perceive to be truly impressive grows smaller and smaller (for more on this effect, check out: The Abundance Paradox).

I first noticed this phenomenon a few years ago. Way back in 2006, I hooked up with this beautiful blond girl in Boston. She was a student-athlete and had a perfect body. I thought she was stunning, easily the hottest girl I had been with up until that point.

I ran into her a couple years ago and I almost didn’t believe it was the same person. She looked the same, but for some reason I remember her being a lot hotter. She just looked like another girl I’d hook up with. I wasn’t in awe of her looks at all. When I went on Facebook and looked at profiles of girls who I had hooked up with before and thought they were gorgeous, I noticed the same effect: they all looked decent; not the bomb-shells I used to think they were. This effect continues to this very day.

So to answer the “get the 10’s” question once and for all: it’s not any one major thing that you do. There isn’t one single trick or tactic that magically ups the quality of girls you get. It’s not as simple as “get a six-pack” or “win the lottery.” It’s a gradual, long-term process. And the saddest part is that even when you get those girls you used to fantasize about, you won’t perceive them to be 10’s anymore. By its very definition, a 10 is someone who is idealized, perfected, and out-of-your-league. There’s no way to bridge that gap except to become what you perceive as a 10 yourself… which after you achieve it, will become a 7 again.

Most guys think of game as bridging the gap to make themselves into 10’s, when really all that changes is your perception of where you are in relation to her. Your standards shift, and your behavior and game then follow.

But how do those standards shift? By experience… pure experience. I’ve never known or heard of a guy who gets ultra hot girls who 1) hasn’t been with ugly and mediocre girls in the past and 2) didn’t slowly eke his way up the standards ladder through sheer experience over time. It’s a slow, multi-year process, inch-by-inch, climbing like rungs in a ladder. Then one day, that vaguely idealized runway model you used to dream about during lonely nights, is there when you wake up, but not in all of her idealized beauty from your fantasies, but with acne scars, a bad tattoo, asymmetrical eyebrows, and plaintive emotional instabilities that all seem to painfully stick out to you, creating a gnawing sense of being cheated in some unknowable way, and masking what’s really there… she is just yet-another 7 snoring next to you as you lie awake in bed, fantasizing about that swimsuit model you saw in New York last summer…

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22 Responses to Earning Your Standards

  1. Schwaermer says:

    Hi Mark,
    It was a fantastic 77 degree day in Newport Beach this fine January MLKday and I confess I have enjoyed a few margaritas – plese excuse any lapses.

    I agree with your point; Can a painter defer putting brush to canvas until the right subject comes along? Standards aren’t about judging but about being truthful to ourselves. Pefection is not what standards are about.

    I believe what makes a “10” is as much within ourselves as it is what she is about. (OK, there is some raw material we have to work with, but that is usually a small waist, nice hair and well appplied cosemtics.) We live lives based upon selected fictions. We project what we need others to be upon them. We have arrived when we can allow other people to be what they really are without illusion.

    “If your daily life seems poor,” said RM Rilke,” do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.” I think this is the direction we are headed.

    Hope this reads OK when I wake up tomorrow morning :-)

  2. Tim says:

    While there’s a few points I agree with here (particularly in regards to newbies; as you’re a coach and I’m not I defer to your judgment there), I STRONGLY disagree with the overall theme of this. I’ll mull them over and try to summarize them back here in a couple of days.

    • Mark says:

      Look forward to reading it.

      The whole ratings system thing and discussions of “quality” bug me and I go back-and-forth with them often (as you’ve probably noticed over the years).

      In the end, I think these measurements and objectifications are useful vis-a-vis improvement and quantifying progress, goals, etc. when it comes to women. But on the other hand, I think in the long-term, living with these metrics can have a deleterious effect on guys and their lifestyles.

      It’s kind of like measuring quality in music or art. There ARE objective metrics for measuring the quality of different music, and there ARE specifics you can point to and say this is higher quality than that. But when all is said and done, listen to what you love, whether it’s objectively “good” or not.

      It’s very hard to balance these two perspectives.

  3. Pellaeon says:

    Mark, I have to say I’m becoming a big fan of your blog. I get really tired of both the overhyped “Learn our uber top secret cheat techniques stolen from Ancient Eqyptians – 100% guarantee or we’ll get more of your money” and the overtly bitter “PUA are satan’s refuse kicked to a curb and spit on. ” messages out there.

    It’s nice to see someone who takes a more realistic and practical middle ground, who has such poignant things to share most of the time.

  4. Dude says:

    Dude….this advice is ass backwards to say the least.

    Unless the guys you are coaching are hermits or some shit, I’m sure MOST people have experienced what its like to be around different types of people, even if it isn’t in a sexual type of relationship MOST people have a good idea what kinda people they know they will get along with or not.

    Basically you’re saying that you shouldn’t care about what type of person the girl is and if the pussy is avaliable go for it…wtf?

    If you have friends or even acquinatences or even some experience dealing with people MOST will have a decent idea of what type of relationship they know will work out.

    You say you know you don’t like stupid girls after dating several of them…..uhhh really? It took you dating a bunch of stupid girls to figure out you wouldn’t get along with stupid girls?….dude this is just you projecting insecurities, if you had a better sense of who you are instead of following community bullshit and put on a fake facade you don’t need to go through all that.

    A girlfriend is just a friend that you do extra activities with ;)…in that regards you should choose girls on similiar standards as you would choose close friends.

    • Mark says:

      “I’m sure MOST people have experienced what its like to be around different types of people, even if it isn’t in a sexual type of relationship MOST people have a good idea what kinda people they know they will get along with or not.”

      You obviously haven’t hung out with most of the guys that I’ve coached.

      “Basically you’re saying that you shouldn’t care about what type of person the girl is and if the pussy is avaliable go for it…wtf?”

      Basically I’m not saying that at all. Read the article again. I said there’s a fine line between thinking a girl’s unattractive and thinking she’s a girl you don’t want to pursue. The former is a negative reaction (i.e., disgust), the latter is neutral (i.e., apathy). Apathy for many guys is an emotional defense mechanism. I challenge guys to pursue girls that they think they may not be interested in initially, and actually find out for themselves. I DON’T encourage them to pursue girls that they think are unattractive. There’s a HUGE difference and you’re misreading me here, big-time.

      “You say you know you don’t like stupid girls after dating several of them…..uhhh really? It took you dating a bunch of stupid girls to figure out you wouldn’t get along with stupid girls?….dude this is just you projecting insecurities, if you had a better sense of who you are instead of following community bullshit and put on a fake facade you don’t need to go through all that.”

      Thanks for the totally vague “figure out who you are, brah” advice there, dude. But there are many guys who do enjoy dating girls who are, let’s put it this way, are unintellectual. I need intellectual girls. And no, I did not know this back when I was inexperienced. “Stupid” was probably the wrong word. As for the “community bullshit” and “fake facade” comments… blanket statements like that are trite and haven’t lead to productive discussions in years, so I’m just going to leave them alone. If you really think I hide behind a community facade, then you obviously haven’t read much of my stuff.

      “A girlfriend is just a friend that you do extra activities with 😉 …in that regards you should choose girls on similiar standards as you would choose close friends.”

      Disagree very, very strongly here. And instead of volleying back at you with all sorts of ad hominem attacks like you did to me, I’m just going to say that my experience has shown me otherwise and this is an overly-simplistic view of relationships imo.

      • The Dude says:

        Jesus your site is full of fanboys mang.

        Okay in simplistist terms what you’re trying to say in your article is that people use standards as an excuse to not go after certain girls (too tall, too short, too asian, too brown) because of fear.

        I’m saying that people have lived there lives and developed standards based on experience already be it good or bad. Standards aren’t an “excuse” there how you say legit, they don’t exist for no reason. By the way this should be distinguished from those guys who say if a chick doesn’t look like so and so actress than I ain’t gonna touch that. Thats projecting insecurities right thurr.

        How do you distinguish between “unattractive” from “uninterested” anyways?

        And I stick by my totally vague figure yourself out brah advice + oversimplified view of relationships (although what I wrote is quite an oversimplification). Thinking about a relationship more than that just leads to loads and loads of mental masturbaition (over-analysis).

        Your blog post is full of over-generalizations dude, I’m not even sure who you are trying to appeal to with this. I mean you have some good stuff on your site no doubt but then you have articles like these where you are trying to be some kind of authority figure over something as random and complex as social interactions between two people with only your “experience” at hand, it makes me wonder….

        Also to anyone else reading this, if you have problems with what Mark is writing then speak out, be critical of it, don’t take what he says at face value. He makes his ideas public so they ought to be subjected to critisism.

        • Mark says:

          My readers regularly criticize what I write… even my quote-unquote “fans” (e.g., Tim above). You don’t see it as much because some of it is done privately through email, and a lot of it is of the “UR a fraud fagget!” variety, which I just delete. I take criticism seriously and I try to maintain a culture around here where criticism is fine as long as it’s done logically and respectfully. I welcome it because ideas don’t progress if people don’t question or challenge them. There have been a few times over the years where I’ve publicly altered my position due to well-argued reader comments.

          “I’m saying that people have lived there lives and developed standards based on experience already be it good or bad.”

          And my point is that most guys who come to websites like this and are looking for help DON’T actually have the experience to judge what is good or bad in women they may want to date. A few years ago a poll on a forum we’re both on showed that over 1/3 of the people there were virgins and another 20% had only been with one girl in their life. Those guys DON’T have the experience to know what women they like and which ones they don’t. They’re probably desperate and needy and are prone to convince themselves that any girl who even smiles in their direction is their next soulmate. That’s my point. It sounds like it’s obviously not the case with you, and maybe it never was. But I think it is for a lot of guys, and it was for me personally.

          I do think you have a good point about the over-generalizations in this post. See my reply to Tim above in regards to that. Speaking in these terms doesn’t make me 100% comfortable anymore. Although I do still think that making these generalizations can be beneficial for certain guys in certain situations… Straddling that line is very difficult and I’m sure I don’t do it well all the time… this may be one of those times.

          Either way, thanks for the honest feedback.

          • Bill says:

            Mark,
            First off I’m generally a fan of your material and your refreshingly honest approach to pick up in general. Two quotes of your’s that stuck with me are “Pick up is basically self help in disguise”, and “PUA’s are basically selling you emotional intelligence”.

            “And my point is that most guys who come to websites like this and are looking for help DON’T actually have the experience to judge what is good or bad in women they may want to date. A few years ago a poll on a forum we’re both on showed that over 1/3 of the people there were virgins and another 20% had only been with one girl in their life. Those guys DON’T have the experience to know what women they like and which ones they don’t. They’re probably desperate and needy and are prone to convince themselves that any girl who even smiles in their direction is their next soulmate. That’s my point. It sounds like it’s obviously not the case with you, and maybe it never was. But I think it is for a lot of guys, and it was for me personally.”
            I don’t agree that you need a lot of experience to know what kind of women you like and don’t like. No one is ever going to be perfect for you, but at the end of the day its about accepting the person as flawed and trying to make the best of it.
            Finding a girl who is perfect for you is not the “holy grail”, and you won’t be ridiculously happy ever after. Hence more experience with different types of women is not going to help you find “who is right for you and who is’nt”,
            because nobody is “right” for you. It’s all about compromise.

            Regarding the below, can you please elaborate on this, is it because there is too much comfort and not enough friction in friendships, compared to the friction that needs to be present to get attraction going etc.

            “A girlfriend is just a friend that you do extra activities with …in that regards you should choose girls on similiar standards as you would choose close friends.”

            Disagree very, very strongly here. And instead of volleying back at you with all sorts of ad hominem attacks like you did to me, I’m just going to say that my experience has shown me otherwise and this is an overly-simplistic view of relationships imo.

  5. Jerry says:

    Boss man! Gotta hand it to you on handling children like that Dude.

    Always learning from you man, even the way you manage these rude conflicts

    thanks always

  6. Relax says:

    I love that you really try to look as objectively and productively as possible at all of this. Those empty phrases and arguments, which are backed by nothing but “feeling” right or internally consistent, make the “community” a very bad source for big issues like this, when improving our interactions with women.

  7. Guy from Europe says:

    What a bullshit.

  8. SolveMyGirlProblems says:

    I look at the girls I used to have massive Oneitis crushes for in high school nowadays and laugh to myself. Nowadays I barely run into girls that I consider hot enough to get into an LTR with

  9. KingDan says:

    I feel the same way. Almost all inexperienced guys I know have the highest standards when it comes to girls they will talk to. All the players I know have fucked less-than-stellar girls. I’ve gotten with girls that I wouldn’t even have talked to in high school.

    After getting experience, you realize that what you thought was real was just something you told yourself. That “10” is only a “6” to you now. This applies to everything in life, e.g. things you thought were a big deal really weren’t. And that’s why I love the game. It teaches you about life and can make you into a stronger, more enlightened individual.

    -King Dan

  10. Mark says:

    @Bill: “Friction” is a good word for it. But it’s more than just creating attraction.

    I have girl friends who I think are attractive but I don’t want to sleep with them. I have girl friends who I slept with but have never wanted to date seriously. And then there are women who I’ve dated who after we broke up, we were unable to remain friends.

    There does need to be a level of “friction” or “spark” to push things beyond friendship. But that friction isn’t just a “neg her here, tease her there” kind… it’s a deeper emotional friction of two personalities that correspond well and incite each other consistently. See my “Compatibility and Chemistry” post for more.

    I think where dude gets his comment is that developing a strong friendship within (or even before) a relationship often provides a strong foundation for commitment. But “Friends + Sex = Girlfriend” is still missing some major components (I’d add Emotional Chemistry and Emotional Compatibility).

  11. beefwaffles says:

    Thanks, I liked this article. I keep thinking back to that idea: “You’re always dating a 7, but who you rate as a 7 will get better and better.” In my experience, that’s very true! I’ve also experienced what you wrote about in the last sentence of the article. The problem is, once we actually get that “dream girl”, we want to move onward and upward. The only cure is to find peace with the fact that you’re always going to wonder if you could do better than the girl you’re with, no matter who she is. Now that I know I have this tendency, it hasn’t bothered me so much.

  12. Gully says:

    Bill – ”I don’t agree that you need a lot of experience to know what kind of women you like and don’t like. No one is ever going to be perfect for you, but at the end of the day its about accepting the person as flawed and trying to make the best of it.
    Finding a girl who is perfect for you is not the “holy grail”, and you won’t be ridiculously happy ever after. Hence more experience with different types of women is not going to help you find “who is right for you and who is’nt”,
    because nobody is “right” for you. It’s all about compromise.”

    I agree with this. I think there are obviously women that are going to suit you more than others, of course. And yes, experience does probably help us to figure out what we type of girl we generally like. But, there is no such thing as perfect, I agree. Every relationship will come with its own, original set of problems.

    For me, I do tend to like darker, more ‘exotic’ girls, I guess in contrast to me as im a white, and I also like girls to share similar values/mentality to me. Its as simple as that.

    As for the point about standards, its definitely quite amusing and ironic, as previous posters have commented on, that the guys that usually have really ‘high’ standards are the ones that barely get much sex/intimacy with women. It definitely rings true for people I know. I know this one guy that has ridicoulusly high standards, always seeming to find seemingly minor imperfections that immiedattaly ‘legitimise’ his apathy/standards.

    Personally, I dont think Im amazingly experienced or anything. But I find as I get older (now 21) as opposed to when I was around (17) that I definitely have a general type of girl that I go for, or types anyway. A lot of women I find attractive my friends often deride me for it. ‘dude shes so old, dude shes slightly chubby, dude this dude that’ Its quite boring to hear this all the time whenever I like a women that happens to be outside of the young 20s perfect body type.

    I think once you accept yourself for who you are, if you can truly love yourself (I know this sounds corny but bare with me) then I think you go for women who mirror that. So what I find sexy and attractive in a women is way more interesting then it used to be. If you break out of the ‘what your meant to be attracted to’ cycle, I think you will start to see that you will be attracted to many different types of women at least in terms of external features.

    Its the whole idea that we need to shack up with ‘perfect 10s’ that causes so much confusion and problems in the first place. I think if you can look at yourself unconditionally, then you can look at women unconditionally, and that helps to unlock you from that whole chain of validation, feeling you need to be around ’10s’ etc.

    Sorry if this all comes out a jumbled out mess. Just a few thoughts/ramblings.

  13. Breeeeeett says:

    I like this post. I don’t know why people are jumping all over it. I understand the idea that as you go through life, you gain experience and figure out what types of things you like and what you don’t like…but chill out. Basically what Mark is saying is, don’t be afraid to try something out of your norm, you might actually learn something about yourself. Wow, what horrible advice…

    I also agree that people will subconsciously reject women for whatever legitimate, or often illegitimate reason they made up in their head as a defense mechanism to sort of reject the girl to protect themselves from being rejected themselves (sorry, I’m a scientist, I know my grammar sucks…but the point still remains). Basically, what Mark is saying is just push yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while and find out for sure if the rationalization you made up in your head is true or not…again, what HORRIBLE advice…lets all attack Mark for some unknown reason.

    Also, I totally agree that a lot of guys problems with women are not necessarily “improving their game or learning some secret technique” but rather getting over their fear and insecurities about being with hotter and better women. It sounds really stupid, but it’s true, and it’s not something that’s easy to get over. In a way, it’s kind of like getting over a phobia. For any of you who have ever taken basic psych, there are two fields of thought for getting over a fear – incremental desensitization or total immersion…hopefully you see the connection I’m going for here cause I’m too lazy to spell it out, but 99.9% of therapist go with the incremental desensitization method because the total immersion practice is often too difficult and traumatic for the patients to have any real success.

    Peace out, bitches!

    Breeeeeett

  14. Tim says:

    Hey Mark I got around to writing my thoughts down to them and didn’t want to make your comments section any fuller so I emailed you. Let me know if it makes it through the spam filters alright.

  15. Dead_Parade says:

    I really liked this article. i thought it was insightful and a logical + proactive way of lookimg at this dilemma.

  16. DustyFreckles says:

    This is my favourite quote from a movie Synecdoche, New York, which tragically encompasses what you are talking about here:
     
    “What was once before you – an exciting, mysterious future – is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone’s experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter. Everyone’s everyone. So you are Adele, Hazel, Claire, Olive. You are Ellen. All her meager sadnesses are yours; all her loneliness; the gray, straw-like hair; her red raw hands. It’s yours. It is time for you to understand this.”
     
    To me it feels that, and most of all with all our longings and idealizations, the lived=>understood=>disappointing dynamics operates almost without fail. And then, when one faces the reality of one’s life as it is, not special, hurling to death, yourself as lived through nothing significant, all your conquests and all your strivings and all your scores not worth mentioning, and all the other people (swimsuit models especially) as nothing special, this torrent of experience once lived, understood and came ultimately disappointing, you will get a sense of your life as transient, insignificant and meaningless, as it truly is, and get this golden chance to be loving towards it, as it really is, as you deserve. To love your true self, and not this fucking idealized, false image you’ve been striving to erect all your life, living what others told you you should, wishing for what others seemingly had, shaming yourself into scoring some imaginary 10 who’s not even a person to you.

  17. Cameron says:

    I think this article is interesting. One thing that would make it even better is a bit of editing and giving up the numbers rating system, seems a bit shallow to me. You come across as someone trying to rack up notches on his bed post like your trying to prove some thing to yourself. I feel like I don’t have to date a dumb girl to know I hate dumb girls but I would benefit from being more open minded and getting some experience for sure.

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