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Post by The Wisp on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:56 pm

rj3 wrote:In the advice world, leagues exist insofar as they are useful in encouraging men to settle ... for justice!

This totally happens to women, too (particularly WRT dating men who are socially poorly calibrated).

I have mixed feelings about the this advice no matter which gender it is targeted at. On the one hand, I do think people should examine their preferences to some degree and see if they're desires are unrealistic due to incompatibilities, whether they're wanting much more than they can give, whether they're prejudiced against dating certain kind of people for bad reasons (ones that are based on stereotypes, or ones that fall apart when examined and were only held out of habit), and so on.

On the other hand, I believe a lot of attraction patterns are set in stone by early adulthood, no matter whether their causes are more biological or more social/experiential (I lean towards "more social/experiential", though biological may be a factor, too). I do think, as I said, that people should be encouraged to examine their preferences. But, I think it is kind of gross to shame or pressure people for having the dating preferences they do (except if those preferences are explicitly, rather than subconsciously, based on harmful stereotypes). I also recoil at politicizing dating preferences in the way that the "expand your standards!" advice often does. Whom you're attracted to isn't usually a political statement (as long as you don't judge people you're not dating or wanting to date by those standards if they're not relevant to the situation), but most often based on non-rational and usually fixed subconscious desires. I don't think it is helpful or right to condemn people and say, for example, "you're weightist [is that even a word?] if you don't date obese people!" or "you're ableist if you don't give that socially awkward guy a second chance! (even if he did ping your creepdar)". From practical perspective I don't think it's helpful either, because in many cases the things that make it hard date one type of person make it hard to date all kinds of people.

ETA: And, fwiw, I don't see the "lower/change/expand your standards" advice given much here, unless a person's preferences fall into one of the categories I laid out in the second paragraph.
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Post by kleenestar on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:48 pm

I'm often the one saying things like "examine your assumptions," and I think it's good to know things like "Hey, I am probably reluctant to date overweight people because society unjustly tells me they are unappealing." What you choose to do about that is up to you, but I think people are more likely to make ethical decisions when they're more aware of their own assumptions, habits, and patterns. I also think that exposing those assumptions as cultural messaging instead of "just what I want" or "what's natural to want" does a surprising amount of good, whether or not the person changes their behavior as a result. If nothing else it can help you understand the weight you put on different traits, as per my previous post in this thread, and identify ones where there is a disparity between what you want and what society values.

Please note, I don't say this as theory - I say it as someone who went through an extended process of re-evaluating her own standards and preferences.

I do want to explicitly note two things. First, I don't think the parallel with overweight people and creepy people is fair, as one is a culturally specific aesthetic preference and the other is a potential danger indicator. Second, I'm skeptical of claims that subconscious preferences are fixed. But that's probably a different conversation.
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Post by reboot on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:06 am

I recommend that people question their preferences/standards because when I did it I realized that, thanks to media and growing up in UT, I had ended up adopting "white" into my definition of attractive just because that is what I knew. When I questioned myself on it, I realized race/ethnicity was not something that had anything to do with attraction for me and dropped the preference.


BUT, to loop this away from preferences and back to leagues, I would like to get back to the race/class/religion impact on leagues and who is defined as "in", " out" or not even considered at all (maybe they are cleaning the locker room?)

I am going to focus on the effect of class since I have experience being working class/poor and now being middle class. I have a feeling that even conventionally attractive people that are lower class are not likely to be considered "out of my league" for most middle class and higher people, and in many cases the conventionally attractive poor person would not feel that they were "out of his/her league" of a wealthier person. What do you all think?
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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:36 am

My understanding of "leagues" is it's the idea that you can sort people into categories of general desirability, and pairs of people who are more or less within the same tier of that sorting algorithm are more likely to get together (and, depending on who you ask, subsequently get along) than pairs of people who are not.

I don't believe there's truth in the proposition that two people within the same "league" are automatically more likely to get along. I certainly don't believe there is truth in the proposition that people who are not in the same league shouldn't (for any sense of "shouldn't") even bother trying. But the idea that there are (vaguely-)separable categories of people who are more likely to find relationships within their same category than outside—that just seems kind of obvious, no?

Is "league" synonymous with "class"? I don't think so; I've done a bit of cross-classing as well (though not as extreme as reboot), but I've always been out of everyone's league.
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Post by The Wisp on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:05 am

kleenestar wrote:I'm often the one saying things like "examine your assumptions," and I think it's good to know things like "Hey, I am probably reluctant to date overweight people because society unjustly tells me they are unappealing." What you choose to do about that is up to you, but I think people are more likely to make ethical decisions when they're more aware of their own assumptions, habits, and patterns. I also think that exposing those assumptions as cultural messaging instead of "just what I want" or "what's natural to want" does a surprising amount of good, whether or not the person changes their behavior as a result. If nothing else it can help you understand the weight you put on different traits, as per my previous post in this thread, and identify ones where there is a disparity between what you want and what society values.

I'm not sure we disagree. I'm saying I think it's okay to ask people to examine their preferences critically, but what I'm reacting against is people telling others they should change their preferences because they're "unfair", which is politicizing the preferences.

Can you go more into the bold part?

First, I don't think the parallel with overweight people and creepy people is fair, as one is a culturally specific aesthetic preference and the other is a potential danger indicator.

That's a good point. But, change it to "it's ableist to not want to a date a non-creepy guy who is socially awkward and bad at reading nonverbal signals" and it gets the same point across, and now is more analogous to the weight example.

I think that Second, I'm skeptical of claims that subconscious preferences are fixed. But that's probably a different conversation.

Well, I think they can change, but not intentionally. But, yeah, maybe that would be too much of a derail.
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Post by jcorozza on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:11 am

reboot wrote:I recommend that people question their preferences/standards because when I did it I realized that, thanks to media and growing up in UT, I had ended up adopting "white" into my definition of attractive just because that is what I knew. When I questioned myself on it, I realized race/ethnicity was not something that had anything to do with attraction for me and dropped the preference.

This is something I've wondered about for myself a lot, as well. While I've been attracted to non-white guys in the past, they're a small minority. But at the same time, I also find myself noticing that a lot of non-white women are very attractive - but maybe this is just because I don't have any sexual interest in women, and I'm judging them purely on aesthetics, whereas when I'm looking at men, I'm also subconsciously thinking about personality/culture/values and all of that other fun stuff, and making all sorts of assumptions without even realizing it.
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Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:15 am

jcorozza wrote:This is something I've wondered about for myself a lot, as well.  While I've been attracted to non-white guys in the past, they're a small minority.  But at the same time, I also find myself noticing that a lot of non-white women are very attractive - but maybe this is just because I don't have any sexual interest in women, and I'm judging them purely on aesthetics, whereas when I'm looking at men, I'm also subconsciously thinking about personality/culture/values and all of that other fun stuff, and making all sorts of assumptions without even realizing it.  

I think culture also fetishizes and sexualizes "exotic" women, making it okay to desire them in a way it doesn't do with non-white men. I think it comes from the gross power dynamics of male-female sexuality -- desiring a woman is a way of asserting power over her, and is okay to do with a woman of "lesser social status", but desiring a man means he has power over you, which is only okay with your equals or superiors.

And that whole thing felt incredibly gross to type, so let me clarify that I'm trying to describe what I view as a current, very bad social dynamic, not any actual feelings I have on the issue.

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Post by kleenestar on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:35 am

I think nearly_takuan's "given a particular sorting algorithm, you can rank people, but sorting algorithms are different for different people" is absolutely brilliant. Just for the record. Smile
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Post by rj3 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:23 am

"Question your attractions" is a false consciousness argument, which is a form of gaslighting.

What you're really saying is that some desires or preferences are assumed to be illegitimate or not "true" reflections of your real feelings because they match up with hierarchy that I do not agree with for political reasons. Anyone who believes that way, therefore, should at least "interrogate" those attractions to make sure they aren't the result of wrong politics. And what happens after the interrogation and you still come out liking skinny blondes? Don't think for a second that your interlocutor will say, "welp! as long as you interrogated, I suppose it's OK!"

Gaslighting is making someone think their own mind can't be trusted, fostering dependence on the preferences of the gaslighter. Same here.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:43 am

rj3 wrote:And what happens after the interrogation and you still come out liking skinny blondes? Don't think for a second that your interlocutor will say, "welp! as long as you interrogated, I suppose it's OK!"

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Post by Enail on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:49 am

<mod>Folks, the "question your preferences" thread is getting pretty far off topic and likely to derail, so if you want to discuss that, please take it to a new thread and stick to discussing leagues in this thread. Comments that are making connections between preferences and leagues are fine. Thanks. </mod>
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Post by reboundstudent on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:11 pm

reboot wrote:
I am going to focus on the effect of class since I have experience being working class/poor and now being middle class. I have a feeling that even conventionally attractive people that are lower class are not likely to be considered "out of my league" for most middle class and higher people, and in many cases the conventionally attractive poor person would not feel that they were "out of his/her league" of a wealthier person. What do you all think?

I'm not sure. In my observation of leagues, it's always seemed like you have to balance whatever discrepancy with equal amounts of something else. Let's say, to grossly over-simplify, you have Person A, who is a "9" but poor. Then you have Person B, who is a 4 and middle class. There's Person C, who is a 6 and middle class. Lastly, there's Person D, who is a 2 and very wealthy.

Person A and Person C would be considered inside each other's leagues, because the discrepancy of their looks is balanced out by how far apart they are spaced economically. Person B "makes up" for their -3 in looks in being somewhat wealthier than Person A. Similarly, Person D makes up their -7 looks by being substantially wealthier.

Person A and Person B would not be considered inside each other's leagues, because the wealth factor (middle class income) isn't enough to balance out the large discrepancy in looks.

I think it is also important to remember gender dynamics in league discussions. I ran across a thread on Reddit once from a wealthy young woman. She was wondering if it'd be possible to "buy" a boyfriend like she'd seen her male peers doing. However, she was very unconventionally attractive. A few guys said they'd be willing to accompany her to events and be arm candy but nothing more. A very small minority said they'd be willing to have the full "sugar mama" experience. But the majority said no matter how wealthy she was, they'd never be able to get over her looks.

So I think the dynamics of class and wealth are complicated by gender roles... a very attractive, lower-class woman can still be in the same league as a less-attractive, wealthy guy, but a very attractive, lower-class guy is seen as "settling" or batting below his league if he dates a less-attractive, very wealthy woman.
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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:47 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
I think it is also important to remember gender dynamics in league discussions. I ran across a thread on Reddit once from a wealthy young woman. She was wondering if it'd be possible to "buy" a boyfriend like she'd seen her male peers doing. However, she was very unconventionally attractive. A few guys said they'd be willing to accompany her to events and be arm candy but nothing more. A very small minority said they'd be willing to have the full "sugar mama" experience. But the majority said no matter how wealthy she was, they'd never be able to get over her looks.

So I think the dynamics of class and wealth are complicated by gender roles... a very attractive, lower-class woman can still be in the same league as a less-attractive, wealthy guy, but a very attractive, lower-class guy is seen as "settling" or batting below his league if he dates a less-attractive, very wealthy woman.      

I think there still is some truth to these dynamics, but that the phenomenon of lower-class women to date upper-class men isn't nearly as prevalent as it used to be. The vast majority of wealthy men date and marry women who are either their professional peers or who are from upper class families and have chosen to pursue more artistic or traditionally feminine positions. There are a handful of entertainment positions like modeling that can give a woman the opportunity to meet those men and enough status to be seen as appropriate partners for them, but I think it's quite uncommon to find women who are working in pink collar positions dating rich men regardless of what they might look like.

I think it's also worth considering that socioeconomic class isn't unrelated to people's perception of attractiveness. That Tinder study that was out awhile back suggested that people are highly responsive to class markers like clothing and hair style when rating attractiveness.
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Post by rj3 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:47 pm

Enail wrote:<mod>Folks, the "question your preferences" thread is getting pretty far off topic and likely to derail, so if you want to discuss that, please take it to a new thread and  stick to discussing leagues in this thread. Comments that are making connections between preferences and leagues are fine. Thanks. </mod>

Gotta disagree here. "Question your preferences" is a very common response to people with "league problems." It's also reflective of the basis for a major criticism of leagues as a whole, which is that they are a bad concept insofar as they mirror the Oppression Olympics hierarchy.  If you can't question (or at least explore) this concept in a thread about leagues, you're chopping off half the discussion. If the fear is that some shibboleths will be exposed for what they are, then so be it, I say.  But hey, I respect mods and will stay out of this.

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Post by reboot on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:51 pm

MOD

RJ3, there have been two, now three, mod warnings and more than one attempt by mods and posters to get this thread off the topic of preferences and back on the OP's topic (do leagues exist). Yet you had to come in and bring it back to preferences, which is very disrespectful of the OP. Consider this a warning: one more post derailing this thread onto preferences and you will be banned for 1 week.

Please read the forum guidelines and behave in accordance with them from now on.

/MOD
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Post by Conreezy on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:33 pm

There are a handful of entertainment positions like modeling that can give a woman the opportunity to meet those men and enough status to be seen as appropriate partners for them, but I think it's quite uncommon to find women who are working in pink collar positions dating rich men regardless of what they might look like.

I'm assuming we're talking about relationships and not just sex, right? Because men in entertainment/sports have fans from all walks of life, and that makes for quite of pool of sexual partners, but rarely relationship partners, like you say.

I think it's also worth considering that socioeconomic class isn't unrelated to people's perception of attractiveness. That Tinder study that was out awhile back suggested that people are highly responsive to class markers like clothing and hair style when rating attractiveness.

Did that study differentiate its findings by gender? I'm curious because while I don't doubt there's truth to this, I feel like in my less-than-refined younger years, class markers didn't hold too much weight for my male libido. By that I mean that I probably would have said that a woman in a business suit is more attractive than another woman with comparable looks in gym clothes, but as far as raw sexual attraction goes, it's to a degree so small as to be worthless. I'd swipe right either way.

and in many cases the conventionally attractive poor person would not feel that they were "out of his/her league" of a wealthier person.

As a guy, I would feel like I was dating out of my league if the woman had looks on par with mine and was wealthy (like multiple times 6 figures.) I would worry about potential lifestyle friction, since I'm a blue-collar guy with no plans on becoming as career oriented as it would take to become that financially well-off. Quite a few women I know who are very successfully career oriented seem to want someone with similar aspirations and levels of education.

Maybe that's just a bit of insecurity I have regarding my class, though.

Like most of the reditt guys RBS mentioned, I wouldn't date a woman I didn't find attractive, no matter how rich she was. But maybe, if I can get my webcam working, I can wrangle myself one of those financial domination kind of deals...


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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:49 pm

Conreezy wrote:
I'm assuming we're talking about relationships and not just sex, right?  Because men in entertainment/sports have fans from all walks of life, and that makes for quite of pool of sexual partners, but rarely relationship partners, like you say.

I'm talking about both, but in the context of a broader group of wealthy people. I'd agree men in entertainment and sports have fans from many walks of life and may end up having sex with some of those fans. I'd say that's something of an exception, though, since I suspect men at the upper realms of those field are a rather small population of the broader group of men who'd be described as wealthy. A lot of it is simply due to social stratification. An investment banker isn't as likely to meet a woman who works in a factory as one who works in a law office, nor is the founder of a tech company as likely to meet a woman who works as a home health care aide as he is one who works at a different start up.


Did that study differentiate its findings by gender?  I'm curious because while I don't doubt there's truth to this, I feel like in my less-than-refined younger years, class markers didn't hold too much weight for my male libido.  By that I mean that I probably would have said that a woman in a business suit is more attractive than another woman with comparable looks in gym clothes, but as far as raw sexual attraction goes, it's to a degree so small as to be worthless.  I'd swipe right either way.

It's here. I'm going to note very strongly that this is in no way whatsoever a scientific study and that the sample is self-selected and likely to be very tilted toward upper-middle class people with a particular cultural bent. But, yeah, men responded to these cues as well. It's not so much a business suit versus sweats, especially since most wearers of business suits also have very casual clothing. It's more about hair styles, teeth, nails, choices in photo backgrounds, and that sort of thing.
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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:14 pm

The discussion of financial domination has been split and can now be found here.
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Post by the littlest viking on Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:04 am

I'll admit that this is part of the reason I stopped going out and stopped actively looking for a new partner. I began to come to the conclusion that there were simply two types of people out there. Those that were interested in me but who I was in turn not interested in, and those who i was interested in but were not interested in me. The latter group would thus be "out of my league". they aren't all uniformly gorgeous, they certainly aren't club girls or super models. Most of them are fairly average looking but do tend to be on the tall side for women but after a 100% rejection rate I simply learned not to talk to women I was attracted to since they were always going to say no. So for me the "Leagues" that exist are simply more of a dichotomy.

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Post by StrangePanda on Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:05 am

For me personally, if I think a guy is out of my league that's because I feel insecure about myself. If he is more good-looking and/or smarter and/or has a more interesting life, I feel like there is no way he could be attracted to me because he can find better people than me, people in his "league", so why would he go for me?

But, thinking about that, most of the time when I'm attracted to someone I think that this person is so much cooler than me and I'm intimidated and feel insecure and not good enough. So maybe I automatically put those guys in "out-of-my-league" box because of my bad self esteem and not because they actually are in some kind of better league.

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Post by Solvi on Fri May 01, 2015 10:49 am

StrangePanda's association of leagues and insecurity certainly rings true to me, and reminds me of the difficulty inherent to discussing issues like leagues where there seems to be a large amount of semantic drift. Do we define leagues by cultural associations? Race/gender/socioeconomic markers? The quirks of individual preference, as nearly_takuan suggests? Or in terms of whether, subjectively, we feel inadequate to the standards we assume others to have?

For me, it's always been the latter. Which creates a bit of a dilemma since, as someone who views himself as an unlovable wretch, I tend to view pretty much everyone as being out of my league. But it also correlates to attractiveness, in the subjective sense -- the more attracted I am to someone, the more convinced I am that that person is utterly out of my league. Conversely, if I'm not attracted to someone, the concept of leagues doesn't even really enter my brain -- that person is just an ordinary person, same as anyone else.

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Post by Guest on Fri May 01, 2015 12:21 pm

MapWater wrote:
I'm going to assume that the general consensus is that they either do not exist or that they are negligible around these parts.

Heh.

I guess what I'm wondering is what other people think. Do leagues exist?

You've answered your own question: "There are 'types' of people that society deems more worthy of praise, worth, respect etc."

If 'leagues' never existed, I wouldn't be seeing ads for "Elite Singles" dating on this very forum.

If they do, do they matter? Does anyone have experience in believing in them or otherwise?

Of course they matter! While I wouldn't be comfortable in using the word 'leagues' per se, I consider it to be semantically similar to 'social status' and/or 'class'. Socially constructed hierarchies exist in many facets of society, so why would it be any different when it comes to your desirability in the sexual/romantic realm?

And yeah, it tends to be on my mind. A lot.

Perhaps overcoming them?

It feels like one would have to experience some amount of net positive desirable outcomes in dating to leave lasting fractures on a hierarchy mindset.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri May 01, 2015 12:39 pm

Solvi wrote:The quirks of individual preference, as nearly_takuan suggests?

To clarify, I was suggesting that "individual" preferences usually still land within certain taxa, i.e. you could predict what type(s) of people a given person is willing to date based on what type(s) of person they are.

You could say that a person P is "above" another person Q's league if P is not willing to date Q, but I don't think that makes sense (because sometimes the feeling is mutual) or is useful (because it doesn't matter who is P and who is Q). Whether above or below, the net effect is that P and Q are not going to date.

"Out" is useful, though. If you can predict how a person will respond before you ask, you can save yourself from a little bit of worseness.
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Post by Werel on Fri May 01, 2015 5:10 pm

Split the entertaining discussion of banner ads to here.
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Post by PintsizeBro on Sat May 02, 2015 11:25 pm

One problem that occurs to me regarding leagues as a concept is that they're so nebulous. You can't predict how any specific individual will respond to you. You may be able to predict how many people, as a percentage of people asked out on a given night, might say yes.

You can have some sense about how each characteristic of yours affects your dating prospects, but trying to keep track of each one very quickly gets exhausting.

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