Love: Austrian Economics Edition

A lot of digital ink has been spilled in the last decade or so into understanding “who goes home with whom” from the club, bar, or what-have you.  And it’s almost Valentine’s Day. 

So, let’s talk love and see how many eyeballs we get here at Chez Happycrow.

The metaphor of the sexual and marriage marketplaces has become common lately in blogs discussing “game,” sex, and relationships in general (I’ve linked the bare tip of the iceberg here).  One of the considerations is that every person has a relative 1-10 value of attractiveness — from the lesser deity who you almost can’t help but look at, to those who, well, have a great personality. 

SMV (Sexual Marketplace) value may differ from MMV (Marriage marketplace value), but most people have a pretty good idea of whether somebody finds them attractive, and whether someone they meet is a “date,” or else a “keeper.”  The way people with “different values” behave is often easy to predict.  It doesn’t take a social genius to know that very attractive men generally have an easier time with women than butt-ugly ones.  Neither is it a surprise that very attractive women generally have a  lot less casual sex than those who are less attractive and have to be willing to put out if they’re going to land the same guy at the local “meat-market” club.  Also, as noted here, alpha wolves mate for life — while the ability to create attraction is a factor of high-status, alpha behavior is strictly oriented towards quality rather than quantity.

True to life: tragically for the hopes of those raised on Sex and the City, the male ’10’ doesn’t even notice these gals. Bet his wife has, though.

Similarly, a woman who’s a goddess at the local bar or club may radiate a gigantic aura that says “damaged goods, not a keeper” in bright neon.  Her SMV is high; her MMV is in the basement, and people will tend to wind up like with like — guy next door with girl next door, wildly beautiful womanwith attractive and wealthy man, etc.

Taking this as a starting point is okay, but these values are deeply flawed. Not necessarily because they’re fallacious in and of themselves, but because they’re predicated upon a fundamental pretense of knowledge regarding the actual SMV/MMV of the man or woman involved in the hunt for love.  It’s not who you are, it’s what you do about who you are, that makes you or breaks you in your relationships.

Dweebs: still out-happying Maureen Dowd every goddamned day.

Love is an emergent phenomenon. I.e., it arises not from the man and woman (assuming straight for discourse, b/c the vocab is simpler to type), but from the interactions between the man and the woman.  This shocks nobody. Take the same man, and the same woman, and on different days and different moods, they ignore each other, they hate each other, or they fall madly in love with each other.   This fact alone accounts for 144% of all chick flicks ever made.  No way to predict it; you can merely describe the likelihood of something continuing based on the quality of the interaction.

Otherwise, if you forget that it’s about the interactions, rather than just the person, you get the famous dating phenomenon where two people have interests in everything  — except each other.  If the passion of the interactions is high enough and in the right vector, it turns into love. (Contrary to stereotype, men and women can be friends even if they have chemistry. They just have to be mature enough to acknowledge it and move on).

You think Arthur Miller landed this babe because of his looks?

You can be a stone-cold 10, and yet lose all hope the moment you open your mouth.  Stunning looks, low-quality interaction.  This is no surprise — the hot but socially clueless guy, or the gorgeous but aggressively-stupid woman are just one of numerous stereotypes describing this situation. 

Paris Hilton:
America’s plan for global facepalm dominance.

Like other emergent phenomena, it is also subject to hysteresis, and when these interactions reach a certain level, the passions can develop systems which lower the overall affection.  Not only can this value be reduced to its original value (no affection), it frequently can drive the value below its originating point — into active disgust/hatred.  This, again, surprises nobody. Nobody on earth hates a man or woman like the person who has been involved in a bad divorce or catastrophic love-affair with that person — the very process that initially created love then turns into a system which drives the Total System Affection (I’ve resisted the urge for acronyms because there’s already too much gropey love in our airports, and I don’t want to wind up on a list) down into the bedrock.

Yeah, I’d say it’s over.

Similarly, mis-allocation of affection within a ONS or other infatuation-based attempt to create love frequently results in a love bubble, which can swell to enormous heights before it pops. But it’s not real — it’s the substitution of artificial feelings for the authentic thing:  afterwards, the amount of love in the system is still zero, and while some people have demonstrated a history of continuously reinflating their supposed love-bubble, this is a poor substitute for actual spontaneously arising and self-sustaining love. “Serial monogamy” is a term meaning “cannot maintain a relationship.”

Her personal ads are looking for a “real man.”
But real men won’t have anything to do with her.

A good relationship consistently pays dividends in constantly awesome interactions.  And contrary to Chris Rock, you don’t have to be that couple that’s constantly only one step away from appearing on CNN.  But only if you remember – you never stop taking her coat.  You never stop bringing him coffee.   Once you get that love is an emergent phenomenon, you have to acknowledge that “love is forever,” means “love is constantly.”

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