Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some Advice for the Young Non-Neurotypical Man

The question has been asked, in comments and other channels---what can I do, as a non-neurotypical, to raise my status?  Typically this question is asked in the context of the sexual and marriage marketplaces, although it's a relevant question in nearly any sphere involving human relationships.

I've posted quite a bit on this topic, and I'll expand some of my remarks here.  As a special consideration to the non-neurotypical reader, I'll focus most heavily today on those things that are amenable to quantification.  One thing I've noticed is that non-neurotypicals without good emulation capability are particularly frustrated whenever given advice that begins with the word 'just'..as in 'just do x' or 'just be y'.  I try to avoid that when I write, but a lot of what I've written has been about intangibles, largely because that's where the biggest return on investment generally lies.  But today, let's talk tangibles.

One obviously has to recognize that each individual person will have a different 'schedule of improvement' on various attributes and capabilities.  Some people, for instance, will find it decidedly easy to improve their raw physical strength but will find physical grace nearly impossible to achieve to any great degree.  As always, you'll have to play the cards dealt you.  You may never rival Conan, but it's likely that you could be stronger.

Physical strength, or the appearance thereof, feeds into status.  The nice thing about strength if you're not neurotypical is that it is quantifiable.  You'll also probably find that you'll make extremely rapid gains for 3 months or so before you start advancing on a much slower curve (people that do this a lot call those 'newbie gains').  There is some evidence also that lifting weights regularly may raise your testosterone levels, which is also associated with improving your status.  From experience, let me tell you that people view you in a different frame when you're 6'3 and 160 pounds or so with an average person's strength vs the same height and about 200 pounds with approximately twice that level of strength.  Another thing you'll notice is that human beings have as extreme a variance on strength as they do on intelligence---for instance, men at the Olympic class in lifting are frequently 5-6x as strong as the average Joe.  What should you shoot for?  My suggestion is to grab those 'newbie gains', and allocate enough maintainence efforts to maintain them.  This is likely not your primary capability but it can be a decent secondary.  Some useful benchmarks---being able to pick up, toss, carry, etc any woman light enough to be attractive to you, this is attractive to a lot of women, even really smart ones, on a primal level.  Being able to military press your own body weight (or bench 1.5 times that) is considered excellent, and it's probably right around the point of diminishing returns unless you're a footbal player or something---Tim Tebow is, if memory serves, about 1.5 to 2x that strong.  I've noticed that an awful lot of things peak in terms of the status improvement that they give you in women's eyes right around 2 sigmas from the mean (i.e. right around the top 2%).  I'm not sure why that is so.  But again, Mr. Non-Neurotypical, this is purely quantifiable.  You can even crack out Excel and start running regression analysis if that's your thing.  Basic familiarity with the gym will also help you talk with people outside your 2 sigma range of interaction, by providing you with metaphors and sometimes useful contacts.

The next suggestion is very tangible, but not as quantifiable.  Learn to dance.  I suggest couples dances with a fair degree of structure---you're a non-neurotypical, the structure works with your limitations, you'll be more comfortable with less structured variants once you have more familiarity in general.  Lots of the Latin dances are good and Swing isn't bad either.  But learn to dance.  Lots of girls really like to dance---this is one I regret not expending more energy on when I was younger, despite having all the grace of a battleship.  But if your build is such that the first item has a poor schedule of improvement, you can get quite a bit of mileage here. 

Learn to play an instrument, preferably a highly portable one.  The best bang for the buck has got to be the guitar---you can work either classical or electric depending on your bent.  Even bad garage band quality will earn you a fair number of points.  I should have gone here rather than to the piano.

+++Administrivia Note+++

I've disabled the comment word verification for the time being.  Spam has never been a big problem here at the Chariot.  Should it become necessary, I'll reenable it, but I suspect that a lot of folks find them very annoying as they're getting harder and harder to discern.  Apparently spam bots are getting better at decoding them.


Anonymous said...

Agree on the gym stuff, though results will vary.

For dancing although you don't get many opportunities try ballroom. It's slow and is rule based, which is usually good for nerds.

Instruments will depend on ability. As an extremely low coordination nerd that can't draw a straight line I shyed away from string instruments that have coordination benchmarks. Wind instruments might be better if you have the lung capacity (I don't).

The best advice I can give for a nerd is to learn social interaction in a rules based environment. Rules and games are natural to most nerds. The best thing I ever did to learn about emotional cues was play poker professionally. When you can quantify the looks on peoples faces it helps a lot. Nerds love to quantify, it clarifies.

Matthew Walker said...

Roissy is good on "alpha" body language: back straight, chin level, feet at shoulder width. Face the room. Stand straight or lean back. Turn at the neck, not the waist, never at the feet. Move deliberately. Never let embarrassment affect your stance (that can take a real effort). Speak the same way. Better to pause than babble. Practice voice control when you're alone, if you have to. Never feel sorry for yourself around anybody. Never apologize to a woman; use evasive politician speak if you must: "that shouldn't have happened" - then move the conversation on.

Call people by their names: "Morning, Steve," not just "morning."

Be solid and inexorable in all things.

Matthew Walker said...

...but in all things, don't overdo it like a lunatic, also. Watch the reactions you get and adjust accordingly. Notice how other men do it. It takes practice.

Jehu said...

Yes, you've got to work with the hand you're dealt. Ballroom is also a good venue, and most cities and even towns normally have such scenes available most of the time. On instruments, remember that you don't really have to be all that good to get bonus points from it. Bad garage band level will get you most of the points of virtuoso (although if you've actually GOT a band spot, that'll net you tons more).
Yes, Roissy is excellent on the intangibles. Vox is also useful there, and Franklin and Carnegie stand ready to assist you from beyond the grave.

B322 said...

Good advice. I learned a lot of these things serendipitously. I learned guitar partly because I was bored, because I was lonely. It wasn't a conscious strategy either to get women or to become a musician, it was just a toy.

I learned to dance because my then-fiance was interested. I told her "Dance is boring inherently, but I'm sure I'll have fun if it's with you." It was true.

And I recently took up muscle-building exercise (no barbells or any of that, but regular chinups and pushups) to improve myself defensively.

All these things plus a tweed jacket from Goodwill have dramatically changed the way women see me. I wish I had started at age 17, but that's life.