[Self Wire] We don’t often like to think about the human aspect of dating within the walls of evangelicalism. We want to over-spiritualize the process of selecting a spouse as if there were no legitimate physical or psychological variables with significant gravity in the process. But there are significant variables. And these variables create problems for single evangelical men who desire to marry a girl to whom they are physically attracted. Here, we will detail the psychological, sociological, and neuroeconomic causes for a particular phenomenon within evangelicalism—the preference among beautiful women for men who aren’t bought and paid for by the evangelical institution.
1. Why Men are Less Religious Than Women
It is important to understand why women are statistically more religious while men are statistically more religiously unaffiliated. The cause for this is both physiological and cultural—men are more inclined to take risks due to higher testosterone levels; they are more aggressive, more combatant, and more straightforward. This didn’t conflict at all with the cultural form of religion in the middle ages, other than that Christianity called men to live virtuous lives, which was enough of a challenge. But the medieval conception of masculinity which included chivalry, duty, responsibility, and nationalism coalesced with the physiological impetus that constitutes male neuropsychology.
In the 21st century Western world, evangelical culture in particular has become feminized, and therefore unattractive to men. It is so orderly, neat, clean, and well-behaved that the only men who stay in the evangelical world are those who are willing to play the part of the good little boy. Behind every pastor in pleated khakis is a Dolores Umbridge cracking the whip of feminized order.
Men ought to be orderly. This was the problem of the Barbarians in the 5th century—they were pure, masculine chaos, and their religious participation was distinctively male, and distinctively pagan. This is also true of radical Islam, which is particularly attractive to young men. The problem is that evangelical culture hasn’t balanced this. There is no room for the chaos of masculinity from which man draws his power—the brute, unchanneled strength into which he taps to become his own man. This is vilified in evangelicalism.
Women are more religious than men in the West because it is culturally effeminate. Men don’t want to be there. The men who are there don’t represent a promising prospect for the culture. So men must be dragged to church by their wives, while their pastors explain away their disinterest in church as spiritual immaturity. To do well in evangelical culture, you must publicly and consistently practice a code of orderliness which forbids mutual participation among men in practices which facilitate masculine bonding—practices like swearing, drinking, smoking, untucking your shirt.
Is the solution to this problem that pastors should start cursing in the pulpit while drinking a flask of whiskey and smoking a cigar? No. Orderliness has its place. Real masculinity respects a balanced propriety with regard to sacred practices. Men are willing to revere that which is reverent. But objects of reverence have been coopted by tyrannies of female order. It must be publicly known, accepted, and celebrated that men do male things like make money, work hard, work out, want to look good, want to live healthy lives, want to have sex, and want to lead their households well.
One of the manifestations of the church’s inability to do this is the concept of church discipline. Should a church be able to discipline its members? Yes. But it should have enough relational capital with its members to be able to work it out without punitive measures. When a church resorts to church discipline, this is often just as much a failure of the church to have built relational credibility with its members as it is a failure of the member who sinned.
Effeminate and pansy male pastors use church discipline as their one chance to exercise control over men whom in any other context would kick
2. Women Prefer Real Men (i.e., Not Male Feminists)
This gender difference supplies the rationale for mating preference. Men prefer youthfulness and attractiveness, and women prefer high earning potential. Some women may say that they prefer to marry a nice man over a rich man, which may functionally be true in terms of tracing the multiple variables which play into mate selection. For this reason, it may be helpful to state it negatively—the greatest predictor of a man’s disinterest is female unattractiveness, and the greatest predictor of a woman’s disinterest is a male’s lacking earning potential.
One study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that peoples’ real life romantic choices often did not reflect their stated romantic preferences, indicating that what people think they want (perhaps due to an ideology) does not bear itself out in their choices, which the study authors suggest likely indicates a lack of introspective awareness of what influences romantic judgments.
Of course, a man would be foolish to marry a terrible woman whose only advantage is physical attractiveness. Likewise, a woman would be foolish to marry a man whose only advantage is earning potential. That’s the story male feminists want to spin—“I may not make a lot of money, but I’m a really nice guy.” Guess what? That guy next door—he’s a nice guy, too. And he’s in law school, not a barista. You lose. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you’re the only person with the strengths you have. You aren’t.
Many people have your strengths and more. Dating is a capitalist enterprise, and when beautiful women have the choice between a good man with no money and a good man with lots of earning potential (and beautiful women always have this choice), they will always choose the earning potential. And they should. The same goes for men. Many women say to themselves, “I’m a nice girl. Why can’t I find a good guy?” Because when it comes down to it, good guys are going to choose nice girls who are attractive over nice girls who aren’t.
These are universal anthropological realities. There are exceptions, but they explain the consistencies which reliably indicate how populations work.
3. Male-Dominant Traits Predict Earning Potential
The very same reality that catalyzes gender disparity with regard to religiosity also catalyzes gender disparity in mate criteria. Psychologists call the interdisciplinary study of the effect of psychology on financial realities neuroeconomics. The recent literature suggests that risk-taking behavior in contexts which are maximally quantifiable and emotionally engaging predict economic success. Psychologists distinguish between a risk-taking disposition and impulsivity—the latter of which is minimally quantifiable and highly emotionally engaging.
One study used a Myers Briggs personality metric to measure how different psychological types relate to personal earnings. The two highest-earning personality types, which were greater than the others by a factor of more than 25%, were ENTJ and ESTJ. What does that mean? These two personality types are majority male, and represent proactive, leader-oriented capabilities. These types are thick-skinned, competitive, creative, disciplined, decisive, and direct. Weaknesses include appearing angry, impulsive, intimidating, or blunt.
This doesn’t mean that women want a man who is a risk. In adolescence, women are less able to distinguish between industrious, risk-oriented behavior and impulsivity, which is why high school girls tend to date troublemaking boys who are not good for them. They are following an accurate signal, but are not yet able to distinguish how to wisely follow that signal.
A man who is willing to earn more by risking more is less of a risk for a woman—who is likely more risk-averse. In other words, a man who will more likely produce economic stability for a household will be risk-oriented.
4. Evangelical men must choose between masculinity and belonging.
Evangelicalism tends to be culturally Marxist. What do I mean by this? It holds a disdain for capital, so that the desire to accrue capital is perceived as morally evil (or at least undesirable). For this reason, the neuroeconomics of evangelical culture incentivize men who want to do well within evangelicalism to become the sort of men which women distinctively and generally find unattractive.
Evangelical culture requires men who desire to be successful within the constraints of this culture to be unquestionably compliant, deferential, soft-spoken, unopinionated yes-men. Individuality must be erased. Typical male qualities must be erased. The sort of personalities who statistically earn more and are more attractive to women are categorically proscribed from belonging in the evangelical community.
5. Beautiful women are able to marry men who have the financial security to freely be evangelicals.
Men who make a career out of being evangelical make themselves a slave to a system. If they ever find themselves disagreeing with the institution by which they are employed, the cost of voicing disagreement is one’s paycheck. Moreover, since evangelical institutions more easily fire employees and have looser Human Resources policies than secular institutions, being fired because of informal infractions or political misfortune in the workplace is much higher for evangelical men. Therefore, there is a far greater incentive for men employed in professional evangelical contexts not to make any waves—that is, to be submissive, compliant, silent, agreeable, and soft.
Women who have options often don’t marry men like this, because they are able to choose men who have biblical convictions but aren’t in the awkward place of needing, for financial reasons, to remain within the good graces of the higher-ups who need their subordinates to drink a certain evangelical cultural Kool-Aid in order to continue to provide for one’s family. Women with options will marry men who will be men on their own terms.
6. Evangelical company men are incentivized not to understand masculinity.
I have had men consistently critique my perspective on masculinity, and others voice profound agreement. Without fail, those who disagree are white collar men who look and talk like pansies, and those who agree with me have been professional weight lifters, hunters, police officers, and working salesmen. This basically proves my point.
When some highbrow British pastor says that my perspective on masculinity is “simply ridiculous,” and a hunting blogger in Alaska writes a post about how refreshing my perspective is, I feel vindicated. I don’t even need to respond to critics, because their effeminacy proves my point. They don’t get it, because if they got it, that would mean they would have to see how far down they are on the chain of important masculine competencies that make men desirable, successful, and trustworthy to other men. They are psychologically incentivized not to look at the ugliness in the mirror. It’s hard to look at shortcomings, so as long as the evangelical church is populated with men like this, they will only fortify a culture which insists on missing out on the essential qualities which make men masculine, and which help boys to grow into masculine men.
There is also another side to this same coin, which is that when the beautiful women have married out of the church, women who are less attractive coerce men to marry them through guilt. They persuade them to believe that choosing a woman—or choosing not to be with a woman—for issues related to physical attraction is shallow, selfish, and immoral. This is the view that dominates a culture when real men have left it completely, and the remaining men accept the indoctrination of self-hatred which persuades them to hate their own preference for beautiful women—the very preference which incentivizes them to become more competent, masculine men.
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[Publisher’s Note: This article was written by Paul Maxwell and first posted at Self Wire. While this is not ordinarily the type of material I’d publish at P&P, I found this article to be absolutely brilliant and wanted to share it. Brilliant.]
[Editor’s Note: Paul Maxwell teaches heresy, therefore, P&P in no way endorses his theology. However, he makes a strong argument on dating within evangelicalism.]
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