My Dating Plan ala Geoffrey Miller

How should a rationalist approach dating? - I have just finished Geoffrey Miller’s excellent book Mate, a reductionist, signalling-heavy guide to how to attracting women for men. This post lays my “dating plan” a la Miller. I post for constructive comments and to give an example of applying LessWrong style rationality. The plan is for me, a heterosexual man, but I appreciate input from all gender/​sexual identities.


I’m writing this because I am sad that so many are alone and don’t know why. I was lonely for much of my life and lacked tools to understand or change my situation. Talking to friends and family taught me that our society fails to equip lonely people with useful tools to become more attractive (behaviorally and physically).

The conventional advice is terrible; “be yourself” and “be honest, tell her how you feel” are so easily misinterpreted that they make things worse. Meanwhile pick up artist forums have an uneven epistemology, a weak evidence base, are poorly explained, and are often unethical. A third way is possible. I wrote this to show people it exists, that they don’t have to be lonely and confused forever.

My dating ethics

1. Preferences cannot be immoral. It doesn’t create utility to judge a woman for preferring physically attractive, high status men. It doesn’t create utility to judge me for preferring physically attractive, ambitious women. The conscious part of your brain does not get to override the part that chooses when to be horny (imo, not a psychologist).

2. Honestly describe your dating goals. I make sure people know my intentions as early as reasonable (expressing them in a non-awkward way). That is why I start the dating plan with my intentions.

3. General transhumanist utilitarian ethics I apply to other areas.


1. Clarify Your Dating Goal

My dating goal is to experiment with short term dating in the American context, then find a long-term mate. I expect to find short-term dating unsatisfying, and switch after a few months. For a long-term partner I like women who are intelligent, good problem solvers, assertive, attractive. open-minded and a little aspie.

2. Highlight Your Attractive Traits and Work on Your Weak Ones

Strengths—I am intelligent, extroverted, fairly handsome, fairly athletic, experienced, well-traveled, rational, ambitious, confident in my career, altruistic, and I love to experiment

Weaknesses—Young (26), Low mental health (moody, complain), low conscientiousness, not assertive to women, previously had low mate value, come on too strong, poor small talk


3. Dating Market: Find the Places and Groups That Fit You

In August I move to DC, which is a good fit. My intelligence, ambition and experiences should attract ambitious female policy wonks. DC has an excellent gender ratio, of 1.23 women to men (with college degrees, aged 20-34). Because educated women rarely date men w/​o degrees, there are .23 extra women per man in my dating market. Supply and demand is on my side at last.

Submarkets—As a 26-year-old, I may struggle to compete with older, higher status rivals, so avoid the pentagon suburbs and the downtown bar scene. Undergrads and masters students are a promising market where I have high status. Starting a campus club or teaching GRE skills might help. College educated black women in DC face a particularly bleak market, not sure where to meet them.

Locations—Volunteering at homeless shelters, dog shelters and activists groups—I can demonstrate my best traits; there are lots of women who are less hypergamous and who share interests w/​ me. I can initiate a conversation w/​o competing for attention with status markers (like in a bar or club).

4. Start Small, Get Wins, and Build on Them[3]

Fitness—do 100 squats and 50 pushups every other day for month; As available, join an ulitimate frisbee club in DC.

Conversation—make 5 minutes of small talk with a colleague (any gender); start an improv class; invite colleagues out to drinks once a week; get a laugh; tease an acquaintance.

Volunteering—identify organizations within biking distance; attend an evening session; try an animal shelter.

Aesthetic proof—Buy new, classier pants; buy black shoes/​belt; buy a coat; buy cologne; buy more professorial clothes; learn “fit” for oxfords, chinos and jeans; sport coat; peacoat [4]; clean my room; move furniture into apartment.

Mental health—read Feeling Good; keep taking my anxiety meds; build better self-talk; get blinds for new apartment[5]; keep a consistent schedule; use task list to stay on top of PhD; use task prioritization.

5. Focus on Social Life and Fun

Focus on meeting new women and having as much fun as possible in each interaction. I have poured all my conniving, my over-thinking and my horniness into this document. Now I can just focus on each individual task. I need not think “will this conversation get me laid” while I’m squatting my massive glutes to wash puppies at the shelter in dark jeans and fitting linen shirt, making eyecontact and listening actively to a colleague. All the hardwork is done, so I can just listen and chat.

6. Try, Learn, Repeat

Some of my problems are too idiosyncratic for general advice. I come on too strong initially (<anonymized> and faster limerating). I struggle to signal status online. I fail shit tests by being too submissive. Knowing the proofs and signals will help me notice my mistakes. Approaching my failures from a learning perspective will help me solve these errors AND keep them from bombing my self-confidence.


1- In a month I will be a PhD student at a prestigious university in DC. This is high-status compared to the masters and bachelors students, and some junior professionals. But lower status than professors, senior PhD students and senior professionals. But mostly I am outside clear hierarchies, so my status is what I make it. I plan to wear professorial clothes, breakdown the parts of the PhD so that I never feel “overwhelmed”, remember that I have already lead authored journal articles, and focus on important (EA) topics. That should sell my PhD candidacy as high status.

2- <anonymized>

3- Contrary to GM, I prefer to focus on my weaknesses.

4- I’m hella poor rn

5- bc sleep

edits: added disclaimer at top; changed “mating” to “dating”; replaced personal information w/​ <anonymized>; added sentence on identity in top paragraph; added change log