Much debate has been held within the manosphere (particularly over at Roosh’s forum) regarding the eternal battle between money and game. Men have taken sides and fought doggedly over the issue of which counts for more with women, but the reality is far more nuanced than the discussions have shown.

The dilemma for women

Women have competing interests when it comes to seeking a mate. On one hand, there is a strong desire for a genuinely “sexy”, attractive man who can hit all of her more primal attraction cues (mental and physical). On the other, there is a strong and very practical desire for a provider, someone who can keep her and any of her potential offspring safe from danger and well taken care of (plenty of food, shelter, etc).

Rarely do these dueling desires coexist within the same male. Most men skew to one extreme or the other, with only a very fortunate few managing to be both genuinely attractive dudes and good providers. This creates a dilemma for many women, as they have evolved to want both of these qualities, but can only rarely find a man who has them together.

Some women, however, don’t need to deal with this dilemma. When we begin talking about young, western girls (focusing on those aged 18-24), we see a prime example of females liberated from this eternal conflict. Let’s use a case study to illustrate. Here we have a young western female:

She’s an attractive, 18-24 year old student in her physical prime and looking the part (an ideal catch for many a guy). Ask yourself: what does a typical American female fitting her description really need? She’s physically protected (the American suburbia in which she probably grew up is much safer than most of the planet is or has ever been). She’s got food and shelter pretty much taken care of thanks to parents (probably at least middle class suburbanites, if not more affluent). She’s safe, secure and well provisioned.

The reality of being young and attractive

And, if at any moment these realities falter, she has an army of (unattractive, but desperate and dedicated) white knights to uphold them and shield her from any cold realities. Maybe she’ll feel those realities more later as she moves out from under her parents’ wing, loses the ability to maintain a large white knight army and starts to hear a biological clock, but chances are that time will come well after she exits the 18-24 age range in which she is most desirable.

So ask yourself: what need does this young woman or any other similarly aged woman in a similar socio-economic state (and there are hundreds of millions of these across the western world) have for any individual provider as a mate?

The answer is not much. This reality should inform any discussion in a game vs. money debate: one must understand the kind of woman you’re dealing with. If you’re dealing with a woman like this, you have to understand that for her, money (and the providing capacity it enables) may hold less appeal than it otherwise would.

She’s got enough of money as is (usually basic needs all met and then some), and she doesn’t yet need to deal with many of the realities (ex: student loans, fertility clocks, aging) that might make a typical provider and his (not balling, but still high and probably hard-earned) low to mid six figure salary useful.

Perhaps she’ll think a little differently at 27-30, but for now she’d probably prefer to seek the more intangible qualities held by attractive men (read: game). She can afford to do this, because she’s not got many tangible issues to worry about. She does not need a provider or a potential father, just a guy who turns her on, knows how to have fun and makes her look good in front of her peer group.

Does game trump money?

The successful young six-figure earning banker/consultant/lawyer is not much better than the broke but “hot” fratstar, the charming starving artist, or the struggling but handsome semi-pro athlete. Her provisioning allows these guys to compete on one (mostly) level playing field where cash-flow can’t tip the scales too greatly.

Thus, when pursuing a woman similar to the example above (young, pretty, western, middle-class and in her prime), money is best primarily used to enhance the returns of said game (i.e. purchase better logistics with a more centralized/nice pad, buy better style, etc), and not as a substitute for it. In her case, game will (in all probability) trump money.

Could money still appeal to her?

Of course…but you’ll probably need much more of it (more than 99.5% of men will ever be able to muster) in order for her to actually notice. If you don’t meet this standard, the inherent romantic utility of your cash is diminished, especially in areas where there are many high earners and even a quarter-million dollars a year does not stand out as much as you’d think (ex: New York, LA).

Are there other situations in which money could hold more appeal than game? Sure, plenty. Are you outside of the West? If so, you’re probably surrounded by women who do not have access to the wealth and privilege afforded the everyday western woman used in the example above. They struggle a bit more financially and/or don’t have the social safety nets and white-knight armies to protect them that western women do. Their greater proximity to cold realities means money (and its ability to enable provision) may go further with them, even in their prime.

And then there are the cougars

The same goes for older western women who, having gone beyond their youthful prime, are forced to think more about the cold realities a provider might be useful for dealing with. Back when she was 23, a guy merely needed to turn her on and be “hot/cool” enough to earn the approval of her peer group. Now she needs to pay bills, probably desires a child, and her status among her peers is more closely tied to the kinds of things a provider can give (ex: how big is her home, what does her BF/Husband do, how big was her wedding/wedding ring, where does the she/her family vacation, etc) than to the more superficial “hot/cool” standard of her youth.

The point, however, is that there is too much nuance within the “Money vs. Game” debate to declare a true, undisputed winner in all cases. Whether or not money or game will provide a higher return with a given group of women depends heavily on their age, their geographic location, and their culture. It is up to the individual man to decide which tool will provide more romantic utility for him and where.

Read Last Week’s Column: Why Demographics Matter For The Younger Man