The book The Rational Male discusses the hidden forces behind inter-gender relations. The book is the aggregation of multiple blog posts that the author had previously written over the course of many years, and thus the work reads like a collection of short essays. I believe The Rational Male to be one of the first attempts to actually explain the reasons behind successful inter-gender social dynamics, at a time when other sources were only telling men how to act and not addressing the reasoning behind the actions.
Many individuals have chosen to adapt the ideas from The Rational Male as their primary life philosophy. Some even treat the work as a sacred text, and vehemently defend its every word. Often those who choose to nick-pick and challenge any part of it are labeled as the worst offenders, being deemed worse than those who reject it completely. The rational being that such individuals know the “truth,” but still choose to ignore it.
After finishing the The Rational Male, I re-scanned it multiple times looking for passages with which I completely disagreed with. I was surprised to find barely any at all. That’s when I realized that it was not the fundamental ideas in the book that I was averse to, but more the singular perspective from which they are presented.
The Rational Male is written with a tone that will be especially seductive to men who feel like they have been jilted, wronged, ignored or played by women during their lives. These will also be the type of men who will most likely to come across the book in the first place. I felt the book feeds into the negativity that these men already feel.
The Rational Male has a general tone of: “I’m sorry to break it to you kid, but life is not a Disney movie.” While this initial tough love may be necessary to jolt a person out of years of social conditioning, The Rational Male never bothers to highlight the amazing positive benefits which occur after one goes through the initial discomfort of accepting a new paradigm. The Rational Male is solely written as a guide for preventing negative consequences (even the book’s sequel is titled Preventative Medicine), and does not bother to shed any light on the positive aspects.
I completely understand the frustration behind doing everything society has told you is correct and then never being rewarded for it. And I agree that staying “plugged in” to standard social conditioning will likely be to your own detriment, and not understanding the truth behind certain relationship dynamics will most likely cause you unnecessary suffering.
That being said, I would not always describe inter-gender dynamics as being a “harsh and cruel reality.” The quality of one’s life is often proportional to the quality of one’s relationships. Learning how to establish positive relationships is just as important as knowing how to avoid negative ones.
There is zero talk of the joys of developing yourself into the type of person who does receive genuine desire from others. And just to be clear, I’m not arguing that one can find exceptions to the truths which are written about in the book. I am just saying that these truths can be looked at from a more positive light.
Thus my goal with this review will not be to actually refute any of the book’s points. Instead, my desire is to convince both past and future readers to approach and internalize certain concepts from what I deem to be a more positive and constructive vantage point.
The Rational Male writes about many hard truths which some people will find difficult to accept.
Many people like to think that they can earn another person’s affection by continuously sacrificing themselves for that person. Desire needs to be organic and genuine. Desire is not something that can be bought or based on obligation. Any situations where one person is using providing/withholding affection as a bartering tool is an unhealthy situation.
Additionally, how a woman acts with you in one situation will be dependent on the type of person that she views you as, in addition to her current prerogative. Often we idealize people and project onto them the identity as we wish to see them.
Thinking that you can find the “one girl” who just gets you and is different from all the rest is a false hope. So is thinking that if you let yourself slide that she will still stay with you.
Women like men with options. So while you should not be trying to purposely insight jealousy, continuously working on yourself so that other women also find you attractive will be to your benefit.
A large portion of The Rational Male is dedicated to the idea of Hypergamy, which is the concept of “marrying up,” i.e. seeking a partner who you feel is above your status and thus who can improve your quality of life via being associated with them. The author really loves this concept. At times he makes it sound as if its the fundamental force of nature around which everything else revolves. He even goes as far as quoting incredibly bold claims such as that women only love opportunistically, while men love for the sake of love.
These type of absolutist claims, along with other self-proclaimed unbreakable rules, need to be taken with a grain of salt. Likewise, the author tying complex behaviors to singular causes likely over simplifies them. However, given where the average reader is probably at in life, I understand how defaulting to much of the advice would likely best serve them.
At one point, even the author himself, acknowledges the conspiracy theory type tone that The Rational Male begins to take on while discussing the “feminine imperative.” A force which the author promotes as driving society. While I don’t want to dive into this too deep, I do believe that the West is becoming much more feminized, that unclear gender roles and expectations are leading to increased friction within relationships, and millennia of evolved biological norms are being ignored. However, I don’t think this is entirely related to the so called “feminine imperative.”
It’s important to realize that the so called feminine imperative is not the source of all your problems. It’s literally the best time ever to be alive. The amount of freedom that individuals (both men and women) in the West have is greater now than ever. By improving yourself and setting personal boundaries, you can create relationships in your life which don’t need to conform to the converging unattractive social norms.
You may have been sold a fantasy, but the reality is only bad if you choose just to bitch about it and don’t make an effort to adapt. In the long run, the life that you can mold while operating with a more accurate model of the world, can actually be much better than the false fantasy which you were originally sold.
To quote the book: “Our great danger is not that we aim too high and fail, but we aim too low and succeed.”
I further agree with the author’s advice that one should wish to be better (and work towards it) instead of wishing things were different, and that recognizing and accepting that you need to change is the greatest obstacle.
Once you accept a new reality and start operating within it, amazing things are possible.
If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your success with women, check out my book: Fundamentals of Female Dynamics.
Causation vs. Correlation: Where Classic “Pick-Up” Advice Went Wrong.