Richard Cooper: Unraveling the 3 Dating Myths Men Believe

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What are the three big lies modern men have been led to believe? How do societal ideas about dating harm men’s potential?

In The Unplugged Alpha, Richard Cooper argues that modern society has taught men three lies that have given them unrealistic views of how dating works. To succeed, in their dating life and beyond, men need to move beyond these lies and transform their understanding of society and how to behave in it. 

Here are the three dating myths men believe, according to Cooper.

Lie 1: Women Are Second-Class Citizens

The first big dating myth, according to Cooper, is that women are second-class citizens. In the modern world, most of us learn that society primarily values men and harms women. But Cooper says that in reality, our society highly values women and harms men. This isn’t anything new: Cooper writes that as far back as 20,000 years ago, tribes and empires sent men to die in wars—and if they conquered another tribe, they killed all the remaining men. The conquerors spared the widows so that they could bear children, and the widows consented because the conquerors were now the highest-status men.

What is new is how this social order manifests in the modern day. Cooper argues that now, the world is so female-oriented that anything that doesn’t center around women is automatically seen as misogynistic. For example, modern feminists insist that the fact that women make less than men is a sign that women aren’t as valued as men, and anyone who claims otherwise is a misogynist. But Cooper contends that women choose lower-paying careers; men choose careers that involve riskier work and thus earn more.  

How Society Might Harm Women

In Invisible Women, Perez argues that our society is harmful to women, not men. However, this isn’t necessarily because society values men more than women; rather, this is because society operates on a “male-as-default mindset.” We assume that the “average person” is a man, and so we design the world in a way that works for men—and in doing so, we (often inadvertently) end up creating structures that are harmful to women.

For example, Cooper argues that women earn less than men because they choose lower-paying, less risky careers. However, Perez points out that many risky careers make it exceptionally difficult for women to join. Several dangerous positions require uniforms—but these uniforms aren’t designed for women’s needs. As a result, these uniforms can make already-risky jobs even riskier for women: For example, female Spanish police officers are required to wear overly large jackets that make it harder to reach their handcuffs and guns—and are fined when they don’t wear these jackets.

Lie 2: Masculinity Is Dangerous

The second big lie, according to Cooper, is that masculinity is dangerous. Women vilify “toxic masculinity”—but Cooper says that what this really means is that anything masculine is harmful. He argues that the problem isn’t too much masculinity but that a lack of masculinity is dangerous

As evidence, Cooper points to Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people in a school shooting in 2018. The media argued that his crime stemmed from “toxic masculinity,” but Cooper argues that it came from Cruz’s lack of masculine influence. Since Cruz was raised by a single mother and presumably encountered mostly female teachers, he never learned masculine skills like the ability to handle rejection. Instead, Cooper suggests that Cruz responded in a feminine way to rejection—in an emotional, violent “outburst.” 

Lie 3: Humans Are Monogamous

The last, but not least, of the three dating myths men believe, according to Cooper, is that humans desire long-term happiness with one person. In reality, humans are highly promiscuous, and this promiscuity manifests differently in the sexes due to their different biological goals. A man prioritizes quantity: He wants to have as many children as possible, so he seeks to mate with as many women as possible. In contrast, a woman prioritizes quality: She wants her children to have the best possible chance of survival. So she practices hypergamy, which means that she looks for a man of higher status who can supply both good DNA and protection (financial or otherwise) for her and her kids.

However, Cooper explains, women recognize that few men provide both high-quality DNA and protection. This type of man is what Cooper calls a “high-value alpha,” or a dominant—a strong man who can support his woman and is the leader in the relationship. However, since dominants are rare, women lower their standards and settle for a “beta,” or a non-dominant. This non-dominant can provide her with kids and protection, but she doesn’t intensely desire him the way she desires a dominant. 

You can tell whether she sees you as dominant or not by assessing her behavior. If she violates her norms for you, you’re a dominant; if she holds you to them, you’re a non-dominant. For example, she’ll buy the dominant drinks but tell the non-dominant, “I never pay for drinks.”

Moreover, Cooper warns that even if you start the relationship as a dominant, you may end it as a non-dominant. A woman wants to ensure that she’s with a high-status man; as such, she’ll subconsciously and regularly test you to see whether you’ll assert your power (as a dominant) or let her win (as a non-dominant). If you let her win regularly, she’ll start to see you as a non-dominant—and eventually, she’ll lose her attraction to you because you’re no longer the strong dominant she initially fell in love with.

Richard Cooper: Unraveling the 3 Dating Myths Men Believe

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  • The three big lies modern men have been told about society
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  • How you can use this newfound status to become sexually successful

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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