Pain Isn't Pretty (was: hot babes, etc.)

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 10 Aug 1998 11:50:38 -0700

When I saw the first few posts in the "hot extropian women" thread, I flagged it as just another thread I thought I could predict, and so wasn't interested in reading. But it surprised me.

I agree many of the early posters could have been more "civilized", but I've actually been more surprised by many of the reactions.

My overwhelming reaction here is one of empathy. There are a lot of guys on this list (maybe a majority?) who are really hurting emotionally. They strongly desire the company of females, but feel (and may well be) unwanted. And they are all the more pained to discover that extropian type interests are another turnoff to the women they meet. This is a big issue for these men, and it's well worthy of further discussion.

Now maybe some could have been more diplomatic in expressing their pain, but it pains me more to see so little empathy for their pain among the various reactions. I see blatant sales, indigation at describing a desired woman as a "hot babe", people scolded for their inadequate features or strategies, and people bragging about how they don't have such problems. But I haven't seen enough of: Yeah, it hurts; we're sorry; how can we help?

Yes, this topic may well make the few women on this list feel uncomfortable. So let's all try to make it clear: We treasure women, and not just or even primarily as potential dates. (And I for one wish the female lurkers would speak up more often.)

But let's also remember: male pain is real, and deserves attention, even if it isn't articulate pretty or articulate. Let's acknowledge that on average male nerds, especially extropian male nerds, are less desired by women. Then let's try to understand more about why, and see if we can help.

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627