ExceptionAL Dating: How to Succeed Despite Shortcomings

hierarchy of sexual needs

These questions are everywhere:

  • I’m an Indian guy, can I date blonde white women?
  • I’m a short guy, can I date tall(er) women?
  • I’m an older woman, can I find a high-quality man?

They’re all asking the same question:

Can I succeed, despite being value-negative in this trait here?

Obviously, for the best answer, a personal consultation is needed.

Yet, every exception follows the same rule.
And we can also generalize a few common steps to succeed despite this or that limitation

This is what you will learn in this post: the intersexual dynamics of exceptions, and how anyone can be successful despite this or that limitation.

First Off… Let’s Open Our Minds

Before we even begin:

  • Nick Vujicic
Nick Vujicic example of dating sucess overcoming the odds

Nick Vujicic has no arms and no legs.

And he went far: in life, in dating, and in his personal happiness and joy.
There are more similar examples.

And there are plenty of people who have fallen in love with animals (zoophilia, includes sexually), things (objectofilia) and, I’m sure this will come soon if it hasn’t happened yet, with chatbots.
So, technically, you can do pretty much anything.

That’s good to know first, and to get out of the way.

However, on this website, we’re not interested in just possibilities.
Here we’re interested in maximizing our potential, and maximizing our odds.

And this is what we’re going to do in this article.

Overview: The Two Different Camps

Let’s begin with an overview.

There are two camps in both dating and general self-development:

  • Rules-based approach
  • Randomness-based approach

The first camp stresses the general rules and inborn preferences, and how they apply to everyone.

In dating, it stresses a set of personal traits, behavior, and approaches that either work or don’t work.
It tends to be a more analytical, “mechanical” approach.
At the extreme, this camp suggest that either you have this, or do that, or you fail.

Let’s call this the “objective approach”.

The other approach is more about subjectivity, individual differences, cultural differences, personal preferences, changes of preference over time, feelings, and exceptions.
This other approach is also more about “possibilities”.

Let’s call this the “subjective approach”.

The subjectivity approach tends to be more popular in mainstream media, which tends to favor feelings and randomness.
But even in academia, inborn preferences have been ignored in favor of culture and subjectivity for a long time now.

Luckily, the objectivity approach is growing now thanks to authors such as Jordan Peterson, Steven Pinker, and… This website :).
Larger movements that have grown in the last decades such as evolutionary psychology and even the red pill in male self-development have given more impetus to the objectivity approach.

Pros & Cons of Both Camps

There are advantages and risks associated with the extreme versions of both camps.

The risk of the objectivity approach is that some people may grow fatalistic. It becomes a case of “either I got this and that trait, or I’m screwed and nobody will ever like me”.
Hopelessness and anger can ensue. A good chunk of the so-called incels tend to follow from the objectivity approach.

The extreme version of the subjectivity approach is equally harmful.
When you downplay human nature, and the more calculative, value-based nature of all human exchanges in favor of randomness, feelings, or “just having to meet the right one”, then you’re less likely to take action, and to do the things that are most likely to increase your personal value, and your odds of success.
We also call this approach “naive self-help” here:

Naive Self-Help: 10 Most Dangerous BS to Avoid

Finally, the question we deeply care about here is:

Which one of these 2 camps is “right”, and which one provides you with the mindsets and strategies to succeed.

The Truth In Both Camps

Well, they’re both right.

There are objective dating rules that apply to a majority of people, no matter where you are.

But there are also plenty of exceptions to those rules, with an ample margin of personal subjectivity.

Which one matters most, the rule, or the subjectivity, depends on many factors.
One of those factors, is whether we’re discussing “hard rules”, or “weak rules”.

Hard rules are genetically ingrained tastes and predispositions that we can indeed generalize to the vast majority of people.
Hard rules tend to be shaped by evolutionary forces, and arose as the best answers to what David Buss calls “evolutionary problems” (Buss, 2019).
As examples of “hard rules”, almost every man prefers a woman with some specific markers of femininity, while almost every woman prefers a man who displays confidence and self-assurance.
The preference for femininity and confidence are two examples of hard rules.

The Pyramid of Sexual Needs

There are several “hard rules”, and they are one of the main factors for sexual marketplace dynamics, and for personal sexual market value.
Imagine these “hard rules” as the foundation of the “pyramid of sexual needs”:

Lucio’s pyramid of sexual preferences

Then on top, there can be culture, local customs, social expectations, religion, family pressures, influences from various friends and social circles and, of course, personal preferences -that still matter somewhat even with many hard rules-, and feelings.

Feelings is a bit of a special case that modulates and “softens” the more calculative side of sexual dynamics.
Just to be clear, feelings are not totally random.
Feelings are usually quicker and more likely to develop in the direction that reinforces either the personal or inborn preferences.
But there are exceptions here too.
And feelings can develop over time, even against inborn tendencies and/or personal preferences.

Each of those layers modulates how the evolutionary drives are expressed.
And each one of them can either reinforce, run against or, in exceptional cases, even negate the inborn tendencies.

Hard Rules: Strength & Distribution

The are two main varialbe to hard rules:

  • Strength: how much it weighs, compared to all other traits, in determining an individual overall attractiveness (sexual market value)
    Example: how much does facial attractiveness weigh on a woman’s overall attractiveness?
  • Distribution: how widespread it is in the whole population, or “how many exceptions there are for this specific rule”.
    Example: how many men do not obey, or only weakly obey the “older woman is less attractive” rule?

Not all hard rules are equally strong, or equally distributed.

For example, it’s a hard rule that men prefer healthy and long hair in a woman.
But it’s not a rule that is as strong and as distributed as men preferring a facially attractive woman.
So from this example, albeit both traits are inborn and relatively strong, facial attractiveness in a woman is, on average, more important than her hair length or quality.

Keep in mind that the strength of each rule is subjective and far more subjective than its presence or absence.
So you will be hard-pressed to find a man who does not care at all about female facial attractiveness. But some men care much less, or much more, than others.

Rule exceptions: Examples

We will review the rules of age for women, and height for men.

We could have picked any other physical or personality trait, as well as courtship method and dynamic, but we chose these two because one, they’re both hard rules, and two, they’re rather popular topics.

Older Women

When it comes to age, the rule is that men prefer women in reproductive age, peaking at the low 20ties.

how age impacts sexual market value (chart)

A corollary of the rule is that high-value men who have the power to find and attract women usually go for younger women.

The rule always standing, there are several exceptions.


  • Macron / Brigitte Macron
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Demi Moore / Ashton Kutcher

An interesting property of exceptions is that exceptions tend to underestimated.

Exceptions tend to be underestimated because people are uncomfortable being the exception, and they prefer adhering to the social norms.
A corollary of that rule is that the more extreme the exception, the more people hide it and the more we underestimate it.

From example, guys are comfortable sharing their mild fetish for MILFs.
The deviation from the both the social and “evolutionary norm” is small so people have a generally easy time in sahring the MILF-passion.
But you don’t hear much about the 20-something guy who bangs the 50-something.
And you almost never hear about the guy who’s attracted to the 70+. The first time I heard it from a friend a was mildly shocked.

For the record, it was a cool guy with a 20-something girlfriend, and the 70+ woman was a common acquaintance.
The lady wouldn’t have been attractive in her prime, in my opinion, and what he liked about her was her “warmth”.
She was indeed a very warm woman.

Still, the fact that we underestimate exceptions is not equivalent to saying that exceptions are common.
Obviously, exceptions are not common.
Some might even says that the higher the deviation from the norm, the more uncommon the exception becomes -albeit, in the absence of data, I’m not personally convinced about this one-.

To you, it means that consciously being the exception can be a challenging task.

For more information on older women’s successes, see “Seduction University” or this review of “Seductresses“:

Seductresses: 12 Traits for Enslaving Men

And now let’s get into height for men.

Short Men

Peter Dinklage with his wife

If you say “but he’s rich and famous”, well… That’s the whole point of this article: finding ways to do well despite it all. And yet, here’s the kicker: they actually started dating BEFORE he became famous

Height for men is one of the most universal sought-after trait.

And even there, there are exceptions.

Says one woman in Oga’s wonderful overview of sexuality and attraction:

[In my fantasies] my hero is shorter than everyone else, darker, and therefore highly desirable, but as he is totally vulnerable and powerless he is sexually abused

Yes, you might say that being liked for being powerless and sexually abused is not a goal you want to pursue :).
And I’d totally agree with you.
Still, the end result is that this woman’s hero fantasy is both the shortest and powerless.
Of course, we’re talking rare exceptions here.

But the good news is that to be successful as a short man, you don’t need to find these rare exceptions.
You can be successful with “normal” women who like what most other women like.

And I can talk from first-hand experience here.

My first “serious” girlfriend was quite obviously taller than I am.
The first time we made out in a club, I had to tiptoe and reach up, and even then it wasn’t comfortable (I’m not comfortable posting full pictures without asking for her permission, so please see the YouTube video for some picture previews).
Update to the video: the video says that “the 3 women who pursued me most obviously were all taller”. As I started thinking of past experiences, I realized that of the top 6, 5 were taller. One included a day street situation in which a girl stared, turned around to look at me, and eventually stopped. It was so over the top I thought “either she’s crazy, or she’s really into me”. She was a highly sexual go-go dancer. To quote Tony Robbins, I’m not saying this to “impress you”, but to “impress upon you” that exceptions can happen without you being famous, super attractive, or super wealthy.

Beyond just height, most neutral onlookers would have rated my ex-girlfriend as far higher sexual market value than I was.
And that is in large part because onlookers only see the “external layers” of sexual market value -and general individual’s level”, and miss the deeper ones.

See more here.

Social Exchange Theory: 5 Laws of Social Success

What leveled the field then were two important factors:

  1. Advantageous sexual market place: college tends to favor men
  2. The social circle dynamics: the social circle of college helps bring to the fore the less obvious and visible “outer currencies” (“opaque currencies” to the fore

The college environment is a confined sexual marketplaces that restricts the supply of men to a specific demographic.
So even though I was an idiot back then, 98% of other guys were equally idiots.

College also tends to make some traits more important and salient than others.
Social status, popularity, and “coolness” are far more important in college.
So as long as you have some status and can come across as a mildly cool guy, ideally with some budding leadership qualities, then college can be an easy marketplace.

The second factor was embedded in the dynamics of social circles.
If I had met her on cold approach, chances are that it wouldn’t have gone anywhere. Well, never say never, but the odds were more no than yes.
The social circle gives your personality the opportunity to shine through and to “grow” on women.
And that’s one of the reasons why social circles can be great venues for guys who are not the most attractive, but who are nonetheless high-value guys. And they’re also good for some minorities who might be considered “less appealing” in certain sexual market places.

Of, course, the obvious caveats to make social circles work for you is that: one, you must acquire status/ower. And two, those social circles must have the women you find attractive. A social circle of gamers won’t help your dating life much but, I guess, you know that already :).

You Miss Exceptions Because You Don’t Pursue Them

It’s not like women throw themselves at me, of course.

But if I had to remember the top 3 women that chased me in the most obvious manner, all the 3 of them were taller women. Of the top 5, 4 were taller.
And yes, that included attractive taller women.

The reason why they made it more obvious is that they thought that I, being shorter, wasn’t going to pursue them. And so it was up to them to make the move.
And the funny thing is… They were right.

Most shorter guys self-reject themselves first, they’ll never make a move, and they’ll miss on plenty of women who might have been down for it. Guys have probably missed millions of chances because they self-rejected first.

Because remember, for 3 women that made the first move, there were many more were equally interested, but who didn’t make the move.
And you’ll never find out unless you take your chances.

In that sense the subjectivity approach provides you with better mindsets.
When you believe that many taller women can find you (sexually) attractive, you will take more chances.
Which of course will lead to more rejections, but also to more success.

Alright, now let’s connected the exceptions back to the rules.

Exceptions: Higher SMV Partner

Many people confuse what we call here “assortative mating” with “exception”.

Assortative mating means that people seek the best they can get and, given that everyone else is doing the same, people pair up around their overall level of sexual market value.
However, on the outside, couples can still look very different, and a couple can be equally matched even while one partner is (far) more attractive than the other.

These couples where one partner is more attractive than another can be “false exceptions”, since in truth the two often match each other in terms of overall value.
So in my previous example of me and my taller, more attractive ex, it’s a moot point whether or not we truly were an exception.

However, it’s also possible to have exceptions where couples get together at different overall levels of sexual market value and personal value.

When that happens, there are often several different factors that influence the partner who is higher sexual market value.
Let’s call them “environmental factors”.
And that also means that environmental factors can provide you with the opportunity to snag a higher-value partner.

Example of Environmental Factors: My Brother

My brother is a great example.

He has nothing special about him.
He’s not particularly attractive, not driven, not well-learned, and I can’t think of anything outstanding about him -except for his “poetic” spirit, more on it later-.
He’s also a poor provider, and he wasn’t even experienced when he first met his wife.

His wife is physically more attractive than he is, and personality-wise leaps and bounds ahead of him.
She even takes charge of the household and is a better provider (!), and does all the cooking, the cleaning, plus all the upkeeps (!).

If you put my brother and her wife side by side and asked people to rate them as any significant presence in your life, be it a sexual partner, a friend, or a business partner, almost everyone would rate her far higher than him.

My brother truly punched far above his weight.
You can even it in the children: they’re far higher value -and even quality- than he is.

So… How did that relationship take place?

A series of environmental factors, including:

  1. Artificially lower SMV for her: she came from a very old-school, male chauvinist household in which only men were allowed to study. So albeit she was even book-smarter than my bro, she wasn’t allowed to even attend high school. That artificially kept her “lower” than my bro at least in the education department
  2. Early bud effect: some young women are too inexperienced to date with a good grasp of value exchanges. They’re not very good at assessing personal value and other people’s value. And that can allow some men to “snag” them without them ever realizing they could have gotten better. Then feelings might develop, and those men can be safe with them longer-term (but that’s not always the case)
  3. Family orientation: by culture, family, and personal preferences, she wanted a traditional family. That made my brother’s lack of certain traits somewhat less important, and traits such has “willingness to commit” rose in importance, and helped to make up for all the rest
  4. Personal backgrounds: albeit as a person she is awesome, her family was lower status compared to my brother’s family. That matters much more for women who look f rlong-term, as this was the case.
    So in that realm as well, she could at least look up to my brother. And that helped him quite a bit.

Finally, my brother also had some merits.
Specifically, he pursued her hard, which works particularly well for women who seek long-term committment, as hard pursuit signals long-term committment and willingess to invest.

Also, my brother has a “poetic vein”, and he used that in his courtship. That works great with some women, and it worked well with her (there’s 14 years of difference between me and my brother, and I remember sneaking into his room as a kid and read some snippets of their letters. Even then, they seemed overly long and saccharine to me. P.S.: not proud of the sneaking thing).

Finally, this is a case where feelings also “got in the way”.
She eventually fell for him and, even today I believe, she still considers him the man of his life.

What’s the lesson learned here, beside the fact that exceptions are possible, and circumstances can upset the general rule of “people matching their SMV level”?

Well, the practical lesson is that it’s possible to find partners, in certain specific environments and circumstances, with which you can more reliably “punch above your weight”.

For the how, see Power University and this post goes a bit into it:

Sexual Market Value Hacks: Boosting Your SMV

And of course, for more check out “Seduction University”.

The Rules in the Exception

Exceptions also follow their own “mathematical rules”.

This chapter explains the math of exceptions.

Please note that the “math” is extremely simplified to support the logic, which I think is more important than the actual numbers. There is too much variance find utility in hard numbers, and understnading the logic is what really matters here.
Furthermore, the charts are scaled down to be visually more logical and compelling.

Overweight: 1 Strike, 1/50

sexual market value of overweight man

Let’s imagine you’re breaking a hard rule.
Let’s say, you’re overweight.
1 in 2.000 women, for some rare exceptional quirk, finds it attractive; 1 in a 100 doesn’t care about it; and 1 in 50 doesn’t care too much about it.

So you are facing more challenging odds, but since it’s only one trait among many, there is plenty of room to make up for it.

Overweight & Awkward: 2 Strikes, 1/2.500

sexual market value of overweight and awkward man

For simplicity, let’s imagine that you don’t make up for it.

And that on top of being overweight you’re also socially awkward.
Now you need to find a girl who doesn’t care so much about extra kilos, and who also doesn’t care much about social awkwardness. Now it’s 1 in 50, of 1 in 50. Total, it’s 1 in 2.500 who’s willing to welcome you without a negative pre-frame.

Overweight, Awkward & Destitute: 3 Strikes, 1/125.000

Now imagine you’re, overweight, awkward, and chronically jobless.

Now you need to find a girl who doesn’t care about extra kilos, awkwardness, and destitution.
Now it’s 1 in 50, of 1 in 50, of 1 in 50. It’s 1 in 125.000.

Now you’re in “good luck” territory.

Good luck territory means that yes, a “chance” technical still exists, but it’s unlikely to materialize even putting in the hard work.
So it’s not technically wrong to tell the overweight, poor, and awkward guy that “there is someone for you out there”. The problem is that, even if technically that might be true, it’s still a fantasy.
It’s a fantasy because you will most likely go a lifetime without meeting the girl who pays little attention to all your rule-breaking.
Plus, even if you do meet one, it’s possible that you don’t take your chance, or that she’s not your type.
And even if you meet her and she’s your type and you took your chances, it’s possible that you are you’re so little used to dating -and dating well- that it simply won’t go anywhere despite the possibility, on paper, was there.

So you see were I’m going.

Exception without rebalancing qualities are like items on a logarithmic scale.
When you string a few exceptions in a row, it becomes an exponentially steep uphill climb.

That’s the reality of exceptions.

Luckily, the same dynamics work in both directions.

Destitute But Driven: Back to Neutral Territory

sexual market value chart of poor but driven man

Let’s take again destitution: you’re poor, but you’re driven and working on a more or less promising vision of yours.

In that case, you can effectively cancel out the issue of joblessness.

By how much you cancel out the issue of destitution also depends on a few factors, including:

  • Your seducer style
  • The environment you’re in, where some environments place a premium on wealth
  • Her personality type, since some women care more about money and some less

And a few more varialb.e
But the main concept is that the “negative drag” of most hard rules’ breaking can be addressed and fixed.

Overweight But Totally Awesome: Getting Back to Hunk Mode

The same logarithmic scale can work in your favor as an exception as well.

chart of sexual market value turnaround for overwieght man

So if you break one rule, a couple of rule, or even several rules, but not too badly (see “intensity”), and you more than make up for it with an excess of value in a large number of other important triats… Then the scale starts pushing you back up very quickly.

And you’re golden.

Rule Breaking Concept: Intensity

Finally there is the “intensity” to keep in mind.

Intensity refers to how much positive or negative value you have in each treat.

This should be pretty straightforward.
For example, being “poor” is very different if we’re talking about “1.500 Euros income in a big Western city”, which is certainly below the average and median income, or “poor” as in “no income at all, heavily indebted, wearing tattered clothes”.

Summing Up “Exceptional Dynamics”

So to generalize:

  1. One rule-breaking doesn’t totally remove you from the sexual market
  2. Depending on the intensity, can generally “offset” one rule-breaking with relative ease
  3. But you’re quickly in a bad place if you break even a couple of rules without offsetting (it’s a logarithmic scale)
  4. You can offset one or a few rule breaks and if you keep adding more value in different traits, you can get the logarithmic scale working for you

Does it make sense?

How to Be Exceptional

dating quote "to be the exception, be EXCEPTIONAL"

As usual, we like to make our articles pragmatic.

So, how do you become the:

  • Indian guy who dates blonde white women
  • Short guy who dates taller women
  • Poor guy who dates high quality and even professional women
  • Unattractive woman married to a doting man
  • Older woman dating attractive men

Here is how:

  1. Know you can: stamp the following in your mind: you ain’t not f*cking group. If “short men”, “Indian men”, “older women”, “poor men” etc. etc. struggle more… That says nothing about you.
    You’re an individual, and as an individual, the general rule or the general group dynamics don’t necessarily apply to you. Read “enlightened individualism” please.
  2. Become exceptional: to become, literally, “exceptional”, it helps -a lot- to be exceptional, in the sense of extraordinary, in some ways or the other. Being exceptional means that you’re at the top of some groups or professions. That means success and skills, which naturally increase your SMV. Plus, you can get some fame and visibility, and fame is one of the best shortcuts to dating success
  3. Learn what the men and women you like want: or, to use this article’s wording, learn what the “hard rules” are, what traits the women and men you like want -this website is one of the best places for that-
  4. Work on yourself to increase your value to the men and women you like: or, to use this article’s wording, “obey as many rules as possible”. There are two ways to go about it:
    1. Turn your limitations around: for example, short men who want to date taller women can make their lives easier by developing some good physique / muscles. That can go a long way to address the “physical disparity” between the two
    2. Add extra-value in other areas: for example, Berlusconi kept “enjoying the company” of countless young ladies because he had an excess of value in power, lifestyle / luxury parties, and of course wealth
  5. Take chances: no matter what you’ve got and where you stand, dating never stops being a number’s game
  6. Learn game / power dynamics: I’m a big believer that social skills are one of the most important fundamentals of social, life, and dating success alike. Start with basic social skills first, make sure you got the basics covered. Too many people start with “game”, but remain fundamental weirdos at heart and that holds them back big time
  7. Learn and apply smart strategies: there is plenty of material on “game”, but little on strategies. It’s a pity because smart strategies can revolutionize your results. This website though also covers strategies. Get them in “Seduction University

In video format:

Also read:


The answer to “can I succeed as an underdog” is yes very empowering, but not super simple.

In a complex world, there rarely are super simple answers and blanket rules.

Out of billions of species, humans are the most complex ever existed, with the most complex tastes, the most complex societies, and the most diverse localized sexual marketplaces.

And that’s a great thing.

It means that there are a hundred different ways to achieve success.

The only thing that’s required, is to learn those techniques and strategies, and to move your ass.

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