Kevin Goes “Bar Hopping” – Is it all about Women?
San Diego, June 28, 2019
All night long I witnessed men and women trying to hook up. The results were pretty interesting.
As you know I haven’t been in a bar in a decade. Maybe more. I had no intention of doing so in San Diego. None. Never. For me there is no apparent upside. Someone sees me, “Did you see Kevin Hogan was in a bar….” doesn’t help. “Kevin had too much too drink…” Doesn’t help. And then I went to San Diego two weeks ago. And in a strange way I’m glad I did.
Through a series of very strange circumstances, I was in the company of a friend of a friend from the Twin Cities. We sat down, had an overly long dinner and drinks. I was ready to call it after what was a good enough time at BeShock. Then, “Let’s go ‘bar hopping’ tonight, buddy.” My maximum time with most people is 60 minutes. This was going to be a very long night.
“Of course.” We left what was pretty good food and drink at the sushi place and headed to bar number one. If my credit card online statement is correct, we made 9 Uber rides and went to more bars than I know existed. (Do you know how many bars are in San Diego? I think we went to all of them.) We even waited in line to go into some bars. Now that is insane.
I figure if nothing else, it will be interesting to sit and watch. Almost nothing is more interesting to me than observing women in general and certainly this will be interesting to look at what is happening as far as attraction and actual connections in a bar.
Alcohol releases endorphins which hook up with the opiate receptors in the brain. A drink makes most people more talkative. A few drinks removes the censor button. And get to half dozen drinks and it seems to cause people to “do as their body wills… except in the area of balance.” They simply act and they do what “comes naturally,” or perhaps said another way, “default behavior.”
I found in this case study of one night of “bar hopping” that people became more uninhibited after just a couple drinks. And that seemed to be almost a universal. Some men became much more willing to enter a woman’s space and in SOME cases (maybe 15%) the woman seemed happy to have this happen. I noticed that women do not lose their sense of what they find interesting, or perhaps they took the best option available out of multiple people. For example. A woman is dancing by herself and is then approached by numerous men. Finally a guy she tolerates more than the others is allowed in her area of attention. Women were remarkably kind or understanding while they were drinking, turning away man after man. After finding a man, even someone I considered more attractive, she tended to stick with her first strong connection. And at every bar… men kept trying to defy the way of the woman and it never worked, not even once.
Men I found to behave ridiculously. Woman dancing with a man. Both are happy. Both have been drinking. Numerous men approach the same woman almost at the same time offering to buy her a drink, and remember she is dancing with another guy. I had several drinks and I was incredulous. ”
Why the hell would they do that?” And then I got to observe this close up.
Somewhere in the early to middle part of the night I had been taken to bar number 5 or whatever it was, Coyote Ugly. This place actually woke me up. It was fun, had good music and just like in the movie, the servers were entertaining.
Anna sat down next to me. Appeared to be Mexican, could have been from Spain I guess. She had a thick accent. Nice girl. More interesting than the guy I had been swept to bar after bar with. (It was fine by the way, he’s reading this) So I’m talking to Anna. She’s starting grad school at UCSD. She was like me, not in a perfect mood. Moving out of her apartment or something. On that I said, “Let me buy you a drink.” And I did. Something and cranberry. And yes for my friend and his friend that he’s talking with over there.” The two guys talked and drank while I talked with Anna.
I’m really not in the research mode at this point of the night. My friend is getting bored talking to the guy next to him. I could sit and listen to Anna talk all night. She wasn’t that interesting but she was cute as heck. My host for the night said, “Time to go the next bar.”
“Because we’re bar hopping.”
“Of course. I’m fine here.” (I don’t need to show my lack of balance skills in front of this girl or anyone.) The guy two stools over comes over and asks Anna for her phone number. I have no idea why. She says no. He leaves. Anna then kindly says no to my host to whatever he asked (I didn’t hear as it was really loud) and she and I keep talking.
“What do you want me to ask you now?”
“Are you going with him?”
“I kind of have to.”
She made a pouty face that was very sweet and we said good night.
And we then replicated that experience at a few other places like Atomic which was…way past any zone near comfort or anything else in the “gas lamp district” I believe it was. Other places no interactions occurred at all that I remember.
At the end of the night I understood the why behind bar hopping. I was simply surprised by the fascinating behaviors of men and women and how much they differed. And a number of the charges on the credit were either made by another person or I simply don’t remember them. That’s what happens when you go to some dozen and change places in 6 hours. And now I know precisely what a “double” is. It’s not a baseball term…
There are about one billion women that a given man would agree to have sex with, right now, first meeting, if only one of the collective “she” would ask…. And they don’t mind admitting it to the researchers.
But men rarely get asked for such activity, except of course, by social psychologists doing research…
On the other hand, those same men are far more picky about who they would have a relationship with, or even consider trying to. (Surprisingly complex thinking, given the subjects are men!)
More than half of women report they would never have sex with men, right now, at the first meeting, when asked…of course that is report.
There is an attractiveness threshold in some research however that shows that women will jump just as quickly if the man is attractive enough.
Having observed both men and women for quite some time, I recognize that men aren’t heading back to the hotel room with other men and it isn’t one woman for every 10 men. A lot of women are not being totally forthright in sex behavior research reporting..and I don’t blame them a bit.
That’s what the research tells us from numerous recent studies.
Men contrast with women in so many fascinating ways that I figured we might as well let the kitten out of the bag and look at some of the most recent, fascinating and sometimes uncomfortable research.
Attractive Women Sell… (My How They Sell)
Everyone knows that attractive women (not women, but attractive women) on the cover of magazines sold a lot of magazines when reading hard copy stuff was the option available, but “attractive” has a number of different sub-typologies that most people don’t consciously think about…
Funny thing is, to men there are far more types of attractive women than there are to women. (What? Men are more complex in some life area other than women? Yep, it’s true. Stop the hard copy presses!)
So today, as I recover from this case of bronchitis I picked up in San Diego, my energy level allows for stimulating conversation.
Let’s begin with “a gimme” in the world of influence…
I give interviews about these kinds of things to reporters from magazines such as Cosmopolitan and First for Women and I also get to ask questions as to what they are trying to connect with in the minds of women.
The fact is that women are different from men, but not in many of the ways you might think. Your preconceived notions about men are generally correct. Those about women are not.
For those of you in sales and marketing..here’s your $35 million worth of free consulting to find out what women FEEL, what they THINK, what they REACT to and every now and then I’ll chime in with a response about men. (Men really don’t require much analysis…)
Hold on tight…. this is pretty intense and often uncomfortable stuff.
The Six Categories of ‘Attractive’
Fashion editors (both male and female) at some of the big shot New York magazine publishers distinguished six types of beauty in women. The researchers then launched the study with the original goal of determining what sort of models epitomized six different types of beauty —
Here’s what they determined:
- “classic feminine”
- “sensual exotic”
- “girl next door”
- “sex kitten”
Know your market.
Know how they think.
These six types had also been identified as advertising archetypes by earlier researchers. Replication is nice nowadays.
What happened in the most recent study where women actually were asked what they thought?
Well some shockwaves were felt. Why?
Women Only See Two Types of ‘Attractive Women
FACT: Women don’t think in terms of other women’s beauty in six different ways.
There are two ways women see attractive women.
End of story.
In one study the women analyzed by the 258 participating women included the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Katie Holmes and Uma Thurman.
When Uma Thurman was rated as “classic beauty,” for example, it turns out she was also rated as “cute” and “girl next door.”
The same group saw Katie Holmes as wholesome, for example.
Lohan, made the other list.
More interesting, the more seductive the women were dressed or undressed, the more bored and disinterested the participants reported they were in those women.
This is somewhat of a clash with other research released this year that found when women look at attractive women they feel worse about their own self-image and appearance. Taken together then, reported disinterest is not typically associated with feeling worse about one’s self.
Minimize the skin factor, put on some clothes and a nice smile, and the women were perceived in a much more positive way by the 258.
Now, remember this is what women say they feel. In research we call this self report.
However, there’s other research that’s pretty fascinating.
FACT: In a study done by Dr. Robyn Goodman at U of Florida, she reported that indeed women (in general) “hate” the Victoria Secret models but go to great lengths to look like them.
Now, all of that is interesting but it’s also all based on “self report.” In other words, that’s what people say to the researcher or write down on a piece of paper.
We don’t really know if that’s true or if it’s true when women are around other women, or, when they are in the living room online or reading a magazine by themselves or when their boyfriend is online or reading a magazine and they are watching him.
As I’ve shown time and again, self report is sometimes better than no report but actual behavior and brain activity is the whole ball of wax.
What to do?
What’s Really Going On Inside Women
Tape electrodes to women’s skulls to find out what’s going on inside of that brain of theirs when various images are shown to them.
Show pictures of snarling dogs, water skiers, partially clad couples in sensual poses, etc., and something interesting happens.
FACT: Erotic images caused neural firing within 160 milliseconds of exposure. (a.k.a. really mega-fast) Consciousness (awareness) BEGINS at about 500 ms.
FACT: That was 20% faster than any other response to any other images.
So the erotic images are triggering pre-instanteous reactions in women. (This simply means, the women will react before they know what they are saying)
The strength of reaction of women seeing those erotic images?
Same as men.
But we don’t know EXACTLY what that prefrontal lobe brain activity translates into feelings/emotion at the exact moment, prior to cognitive interpretation. (In other words, yeah, it’s fast but what the heck does it mean?)
In other words, with an exposure that could register in consciousness, the woman could look at the image and be repulsed, but report she liked the girl, or vice versa.
Completely switch context with me for ease of understanding:
Perhaps the minister with congregation on an outing on a Sunday afternoon, sees an attractive girl. His prefontal lobes light up like a Christmas Tree but then that attraction/attention flows into his thinking process and he then perhaps publicly reacts with an intense reaction of avoidance. That’s a hypothetical scenario, not a fact, but you get the idea.
Internal reactions meet with conscious thoughts and feelings to create new sets of feelings and thoughts and then behaviors follow that maze.
So we know that men and women react with the same intensity to attractive women at the neural level. That’s pretty surprising to me. Maybe you had it figured the other way all along. I didn’t.
That said, we still need a bit more information to hone in on whether women are attracted to or repelled by erotic images of attractive women (and we’ll check for a few other things as we go along…)
Now before I answer the question you’re just dying to know the answer to, check this out…
FACT: When people see violent or erotic images they FAIL to process whatever they immediately see next.
Read that again.
FACT: When people see violent or erotic images they FAIL to process whatever they immediately see next.
That helps us potentially understand a whole bunch of different things.
- Perhaps why the hockey dad kills the guy next to him.
- Perhaps why the kids fail to put the condom on.
- Perhaps why the health club billboard coincided with a car accident…
It also brings up some interesting questions.
Researchers don’t just present erotic and violent images to subjects (they’re just more interesting).
Nope, they show normal every day stuff, too and that normal stuff doesn’t interfere with the brain remembering what it was exposed to next. Not in the least.
But erotica and violence? Don’t process what happens next.
There’s a brief period of lack of registration immediately after the exposure to an erotic or violent image.
Perceived positively or negatively, liking the images or not, the affect (emotion) on attention was the same. The person simply doesn’t see the next image flashed in front of their very eyes.
Is some part of the brain processing so MUCH information that it actually shuts down the recognition of incoming inputs?
Man, that’s pretty incredible….
What About Subliminal Images?
Now let’s go to the seriously twice as fun and twice as fascinating….we go subliminal…
Woman in a bikini…you can’t see her….she is subliminal. She is “invisible”.
How does THAT effect you?!
(These folk get paid way too much to have all this fun…)
We’ll answer that question in a sec with this study….
40 men and women. Straight and gay.
Subjects are shown images in such a way that they create a pattern on a screen.
They want the subjects to tell them the pattern and point out where it is.
Subjects can’t see the images “flash” because they are subliminal.
But turns out the images are not only registered, but are processed and influence behavior at the nonconscious (not to be confused with the word “unconscious” used in psychology/hypnosis) level.
Subjects exposed to (but can’t see as they are indeed invisible) erotic images identify the pattern. Those that are shown non erotic pictures, are much less accurate in pattern identification.
The erotic invisible images trigger pattern recognition, even though the pattern is invisible to consciousness.
Same sex nude subliminal exposures repel attention in men, except in gay men.
And, for straight people, after being exposed to a nude of the opposite sex, the subject does better on the OVERALL pattern recognition.
(Take that to the school board and try to get that put through…”If we just show erotic slides prior to our most difficult kids they’ll do better on IQ tests)” I’ve had the discussion with individuals. A lot of people don’t like it, but it is…what it is.
Differences between men and women?
Both men and women were attracted and attended to the nudes of the opposite sex.
Both men and women performed BETTER after exposure to the nudes of the opposite sex.
WOW Fact: Women’s performance stayed about the same when exposed to nudes of women.
Attracted, attended, performed.
OK, now wait just a doggone cotton pickin’ minute.
Everybody, outta the pool.
We have what seems to be contradictory information here.
But wait, there’s more…(!)
- The brain doesn’t just register subliminal information, it PROCESSES it and causes attraction or repulsion. That’s a fact. (Darn cool one, too) And therefore it significantly influences behavior.
- I’ll come to this in a second…
Whatcha Lookin’ At?
Back to nude photos…as delicately as I can…
Men look at the face first.
I didn’t figure this one. I guessed the opposite. Goes to show what I know until I see the data….
Other fact of interest about women?
If the women subjects were using hormonal contraceptives, they looked at the couples…”below the waist” first.
If they were NOT using hormonal contraceptives they looked at the context first.
That’s worth a re-read too….
If there were pictures of couples having sex in the mix of photos, women spent much more time looking at them than did men.
That one I guessed right. (“Romantic” novels vs. photos thing.)
Forget first glances.
Who looks more beneath the waist?
Turns out neither.
Now when you take all of this research and piece it together, we learn a few things about women…
First, women are aroused at the nonconscious level by exposure to images of both men and women (almost equally).
Second, women report that they are bored with photographs of women that are scantily clad and become more bored as the women are more scantily clad. Clearly this is not “true” at the neural level, as they are factually aroused by women that are nude. That’s the opposite of bored.
Third, in other studies, women report they “hate Victoria Secret models” but “…will do anything to look like them.” This is being on the short end of the stick of the competitive nature in us all. Most people are at least a little intimidated by people who are better looking or smarter or stronger than they are.
Fourth, in still other studies, women’s self-image is measured lower after viewing attractive women. Again, easy to understand. My guess is the same would be true for men. To my knowledge it hasn’t been studied to date. But my internal study of one (me) says that I’d feel the same feelings. Everyone wants to be number one.
Fifth, with all of this conflicting internal desire and drive, and, societal confusion in a woman’s brain, it’s a surprise if they can remotely understand their own feelings. And as a man, you are placed in the precarious place of several “no win, you lose” life situations. (And yeah you are lucky you read this today as it gives you insight to why women communicate about their conflicting internal reactions and feelings they way they do.
i.e. how the heck do you communicate with women about what they are attracted to, attend to, aroused by, and then often greatly dislike?!
Best answer: Don’t.
And for men?
The research is incredibly predictable.
We are simple creatures.
We see attractive women.
We are aroused at every level of consciousness by exposure to attractive women.
Men have multiple categories of attractiveness for women. They see many different TYPES of attractiveness, where women see TWO.
Men and women both mis-state the truth about how attracted and aroused they are by women at least to significant others…
Finally, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in what arouses women, what they communicate about what arouses them, and their reports of the feelings in arousal situations.
What can marketers learn from all this?
Captain Marvel is mighty and beautiful. Who wants to gamble a half billion dollars on putting an average person in costume? Straight women will not always be happy about what they are attracted to because of societal/cultural pressures…and will often be confused by their own feelings toward this fact.
Women are very different than men.
We’re universally attracted to them (except by gay men).
Problem is, nothing in culture should suppress real feelings and thoughts to the point where you have to justify your own thoughts and feelings when all they are is thoughts and feelings. Walk into a society with a bunch of rules like the US o A and you get women with big question marks running around their brain.
As much fun as I like to have with all this stuff (and it is fun figuring out who we are at the deepest level) it’s socially important to realize that social norms don’t match internal feelings and it causes a whole bunch of problems, and someday society will mature to the point (and Europe is better here than the USA) where you can be what you are and say what you think and feel.
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