It seems there's some interest in PUA and attraction at Less Wrong. Would that subject be appropriate for a front-page post? I've drafted the opening of what I had in mind, below. Let me know what you think, and whether I should write the full post.
Also, I've done lots of collaborative writing before, with much success (two examples). I would welcome input from or collaboration with others who have some experience and skill in the attraction arts. If you're one of those people, send me a message! Even if you just want to comment on early drafts or contribute a few thoughts.
I should probably clarify my concept of attraction and seduction. The founders of "pickup" basically saw it as advice on "how to trick women into bed", but I see it as a series of methods for "How to become the best man you can be, which will help you succeed in all areas of life, and also make you attractive to women." Ross Jeffries used neuro-linguistic programming and hypnosis, and Mystery literally used magic tricks to get women to sleep with him. My own sympathies lie with methods advocated by groups like Art of Charm, who focus less on tricks and routines and more on holistic self-improvement.
Here was the proposed post...
When I interviewed to be a contestant on VH1's The Pick-Up Artist, they asked me to list my skills. Among them, I listed "rational thinking."
"How do you think rational thinking will help you with the skills of attraction?" they asked.
I paused, then answered: "Rational thinking tells me that attraction is a thoroughly non-rational process."
I didn't get the part on the VH1 show, but no matter: studying and practicing pick-up has transformed my life more than almost anything else, even though getting excellent and frequent sex is, oddly enough, not one of my life's priorities. Nor is finding a soulmate.
If you want lots of sex, or a soulmate, or you want to improve your current relationship, then attraction skills will help with that. Loneliness need not be one of the costs of rationality. But even if you don't want any of those things, studying attraction methods can (1) clear up confusion and frustration about the opposite sex,b (2) improve your social relations in general, (3) boost your confidence, and thus (4) help you succeed in almost every part of your life.
This is a post about what men can do to build attraction in women.c I will not discuss whether these methods are moral. I will not discuss whether these methods are more or less "manipulative" than the standard female methods for attracting men. Instead, I will focus on factual claims about what tends to create sexual attraction in women.
This is also a post for rationalists. More specifically, it is aimed at the average Less Wrong reader: a 20-34 year old, high-IQ, single male atheist.
I will also be assuming the stereotype that many passionate rationalists of our type could benefit from advice on body language, voice tone, social skills, and attire - a stereotype that has some merit. Even if you don't need such advice, many others will benefit from it. I did.
Self-help methods in general have not received enough attention from experimental researchers, and attraction methods have fared even worse. That may be what drove the leaders of the pickup community to run thousands of real-life experiments, systematically varying their attire, body language, and speech to measure what worked and what didn't. The dearth of research on the subject turned ordinary men into amateur seduction scientists, albeit without much training.
Still, we can learn some things about sexual attraction from established science.
[full post to be continued here]
b I used to be one of those poor guys who complained that "Girls say they want nice guys, but they only go out with jerks!" Merely reading enough evolutionary psychology to understand why women often date "jerks" was enough, in my case, to relieve a lot of confusion and frustration. Even without developing attraction skills, mere understanding can, I think, relieve serious stress and worries about one's manly (fragile) ego.
c Sorry, I don't know much about homosexual attraction, and I'll leave the subject of how women can attract better men to other authors.