The 2/8/2 Rule

In my experience there is a simple and steadfast rule that governs serial dating for men who play the field.  For every 12 women a man dates, 2 of those 12 will be hot by his standards, 8 will match him in attractiveness, and 2 will be below his standards.  (12 is the magic number since studies on the mathematics of love have shown that on average that is the number of partners a man or woman must date before finding ‘the one’.)

This rule applies to the average guy who is socially competent and reasonably comfortable around women and who has command of some basic game.  Men with crippling dating handicaps like having more than 1,000 life-hours logged on World of Warcraft should focus on dating one or two women of any caliber.

The 2/8/2 Rule is not a prescription for dating success, but an observation of the courtship patterns of most players.  The rule seems to describe a “stasis point” that men reach when they are actively dating around and have settled into a comfort zone where a balance is struck between hot sex and emotional stress.  Since the rule is fluid, any changes in the strength and consistency of a man’s game will move his ratios positively or negatively.

Ideally, you want a 12/0/0 ratio but that would require masterful game plus objectively high status.  It is a rare man indeed who manages a 0/0/12 ratio.  These types are the gammas who have dropped all standards in order to satisfy their indiscriminate sexual appetites.  You will find them at NAAFA mixers and retirement community bingo halls.  0/0/0 men are betas who refuse to budge on their impossibly high standards and instead find an outlet for their probable low sex drives in porn.

2/8/2 is comfortable for most men because it gives them the opportunity to stretch their boundaries a little while not stressing them out too much.  Since regular sex without stupendous effort with girls who pass their attractiveness threshold is the principle driving force of men, the bulk of their partners will be the kinds of women other people think are “right” for them.  Interestingly, while the game needed to close these mediocre women is unexceptional, the learning gained from being in a relationship with them is much more valuable than any time spent with very hot women.  This is because a man can go much deeper with a moderately attractive woman, pushing his game and relationship strategies in all sorts of new directions, without running the risk of her suddenly leaving.  A drop-dead gorgeous woman is apt to walk out on him at the slightest infraction of her emotional checklist.  His room for error is razor-thin.

This is not to say he should forego aiming high.  It is optimal to have put in the effort and bedded at least 2 high quality girls out of the 12 total — the kinds of girls that make other people say “what the hell is she doing with him?”  His game needs occasional shakeups like a bodybuilder needs a new eating regimen or a new exercise routine to bust out of a plateau.  Only girls whose beauty takes his game to the breaking point are capable of inspiring him to unimagined heights.  Any more than 2, though, and he will likely crumble under the pressure, retreating to the familiarity of porn and 3AM garbage time.  Bend the ego, don’t break it.

At the tail end, he’ll dumpster dive with a couple of fuglies.  As long as he’s quiet about it and wasted little effort chasing her, he can avoid a crisis of self-esteem.  Gaming unattractive girls is sometimes necessary to end dry spells.  Hapless beginners and insatiable male hos are the most common types of pursuers of the easy notch.  Be careful not to make it a habit.


  1. I took a Psychology of Romantic Relationships class in college. Fascinating commentaries, if not completely disastrous for my dating ego. I’d be glad to lend you that text book if you want to truly figure out how to score using only psychological theories.

    Anyway, the book says that people will end up marrying, dating, etc. people of the same attractiveness level. Never a conscious effort, I think it simply provides a comfort zone, where you never have to hide the “ugly girlfriend” or constantly try to impress the “hot boyfriend”. This is why Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovitt didn’t work out, I’m convinced. I’m curious to see how Christina Aguilera and her husband do… clearly an attractiveness breach there.

    Anyway, just my two cents.


  2. sure, bring the book next time we meet.
    i generally agree. people will assortatively mate. in layman’s terms – no one plays out of their league for long.

    the devil is in the details of what exactly constitutes attractiveness. this is why an ugly man with great wealth or unbelievable confidence can score LTRs with beautiful women. even then, water seeks its own level. it is good odds the hot wife of the ugly multimillionaire will cheat with the studly poolboy.


  3. I think it’s more like 2/4/6. It could just be my perspective but I see a lot of guys out there who could do much better.

    But then again there has to be a balance in the numbers like you propose or else girls are uglier than guys (unless a specific local deviates from some attractiveness average for a particular gender).


  4. I wonder what the ratio for women is. Roosh? Any theories?


  5. roosh, yeah on average the girl in a relationship will be *slightly* more physically attractive than the guy because of the difference in what each emphasizes in a partner. where you see a lot of guys with much less attractive girls (relative to the guy) is a sign that the guys are afraid to put in the work to learn basic game or that they have shortcomings in other areas + a shortage of pretty women to hit on.

    in DC, the numbers very well may skew more to your ratio. i noticed during my time in the south that most guys were batting out of their league. and it seemed the girls were unaware of their own beauty currency.

    aj, good question. in general, girls date up because men are sex-hungrier and less discriminating, creating a supply-demand imbalance. for women, the numbers would be more like 6/4/2. but there are a lot of confounding variables — men’s attractiveness is more complicated.


  6. Theoretically every successful relationship achieves a balanced quid pro quo based upon partner equality of “total package”. The total package equation looks something like this:

    looks + fame + money + power + IQ + integrity + charm + wit + misc = total package.

    Everyone applies different weight to items in this equation.

    Example: Milania and Donald Trump probably have achieved parity. I saw an interview where someone asked her if Trump didn’t have so much wealth would she be with him and much to her credit she instantly retorted “if I wasn’t so beautiful would he be with me” or something to that effect. Sadly her looks will likely fade faster than his wealth so long term parity probably won’t be achieved.

    One side note. Intelligent women will rarely suffer a less intelligent male for a long period of time regardless of his other factors.