Dating Strategies: What You Can Learn From the Study of Ecology
If you ever sat through an ecology class in college, you have my condolences. However, there’s one lecture that you should have paid attention to, because it sheds wonderful insight in to the world of dating. Yep, you heard me right-ecology can help you figure out the dating world. More narrowly, it can help women understand why men behave the way they do and provide you with some solid dating advice.
Bare with me…you’ll be glad you did.
There’s an area in the field of ecology called selection theory. It’s intimately tied to the theory of evolution. In a nutshell, it explains how species perpetuate themselves. Unintentionally, it also explains how men date. Here’s the jist of it:
According to selection theory, there are essentially two kinds of animals in the world, R-strategists and K-strategists. Your classic R-strategist would be a fish. The female fish will lay thousands of eggs, the male will fertilize them all, and thousands of little fish fry will be born. Ma and Pa Fish will offer no parental care, and most of those little fish babies will die. Only a very small fraction will ever reach maturity and go on to reproduce themselves, perpetuating the species.
Your classic K-strategist would be something like a Gorilla. Ma and Pa Gorilla hook up, produce only a few offspring in their entire life, and practice extended parental care-creating a high chance that their offspring will live on.
Perhaps you can see where the dating advice comes in. But just in case you can’t, men can be divided in to R-strategist and K-strategist daters. An R-strategist dater can be found at the corner bar hitting on most anything with a pulse, metaphorically fertilizing thousands of would-be mates, all the while recognizing the chance of success from any one particular effort is really small.
K-strategist daters, those proverbial nice guys, narrow in on one particular person and invest a lot of resources in that one particular potential mate. They’re laying all of their eggs in a single basket and hoping for the best.
Ecologically speaking, it’s important to remember that both of these dating strategies are rational-in that they both have the potential for success. Abhorrent though you may find this truth, there are a whole lot of R-strategist daters out there that are quite successful at winning over the ladyfolk.
Ethically speaking, however, R-style dating strategies a lot to be desired. To mix a metaphor, you can think of the K-style dating strategies as the smart bombers and the R-strategist daters as the carpet bombers. The K-strategist daters are the Americans during the Gulf War, narrowing in on a particular target with pinpoint accuracy and going to great lengths to make sure they hit one target and one target only.
The R-strategist daters are less worried about the collateral damage of hitting on everything that moves; they’re a bit more like the Luftwaffe firebombing London in World War II. They won’t regret leaving a trail of emotional destruction in their wake if it means they’re able to nail their target.
If you’re out there on the singles scene, you would be wise to think about where you go to meet men, and what type of strategist is likely to congregate there. The stomping grounds for R-strategists: bars, dance clubs, house parties, any place where you can meet a large number of people in a single setting, because that’s what makes the R-style dating strategies successful.
And where do the K-strategist daters lurk? Typically in less testosterone rich atmospheres-eHarmony, book clubs, volunteer functions, small get-togethers between friends, any place where you’re likely to meet just a few people but have a good chance at an extended conversation.
So now that you understand the two types of dating strategies, ask yourself, “Which am I?” and “Which one am I meeting?”