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The Rational Male: Review & Notes

Lucio Buffalmano
November 9, 2018
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The Rational Male is a summary of Red Pill philosophy, mixed with Rollo Tomassi’s own interpretations and ideas.
It has been acclaimed as one of the most important Red Pill books.

Bullet Summary

  • There is no “the one”: there are countless partners with whom you can have a great relationship
  • To control the relationship: need her less than she needs you
  • Entertain several different women at once: it gives you an abundance mindset


About the Author: Rollo Tomassi is one of the leading voices in the male-focused online community known as the “Manosphere”.
Specifically, he is a popular and authoritative voice in a subset of the manosphere called the “Red Pill”, which focuses more on the sexual dynamics of the more general male self-development. 
Rollo Tomassi is also the author of “Preventive Medicine” and “Positive Masculinity“.

Oneitis: There’s No “The One”

Oneitis is an old concept harking back to the very beginning of pick-up and manosphere (check The Game, The Mystery Method and David DeAngelo).

In short, oneitis refers to men who obsess over a single, specific woman.
So you would say that a man suffers from oneitis when he loses his mind for one woman and thinks she’s so awesome that he must absolutely be with her or he’s ruined.

Rollo suggests that this is in part due to the mistaken belief of “The One”, such as there is a woman (or a man) out there who is just right for you.
And you “just” need to find her.

I completely agree with Tomassi here: this idea makes no sense whatsoever and it should be so obvious that we don’t need to discuss it any further :).

I don’t think there is much connection though between oneitis and “the one” mindset. Oneitis relates more to chemical reactions and lacks of options than to beliefs.

The Secret to Relationship Power: Don’t Need Her

The Rational Male makes the point that whether or not you want to see relationships with the lenses of power dynamics or not, it doesn’t matter: the power dynamics will be at play anyway.

And, well, you just need to check this page URL to see that I couldn’t agree more :).

Tomassi says that power in a relationship goes to the individual who needs the other the least.

My Note: Power in a relationship also does deeper
There are many elements that determine power in a relationship, and who needs whom the most is indeed a key component. On the other end, focusing on “needing her less” also makes for very poor relationships.
For more, read:

Don’t Just Be Yourself: Grow

You know the old self-help mantra, right?


Just be yourself

Tomassi criticizes that concept, and invites the readers of The Rational Male to focus on growth and self-development to become a high-quality man.

He uses his own example, of what happened to him when he started truly working on himself.
He went from “worst, bottom-scraping beta” to rockstar and alpha father. What you do with your life and who you become in your life, says Rollo, is up to you.

That’s true indeed.
Also read:

The danger is not aiming high, but aiming low and achieving it

Plate Theory: Date Several Women

Plate Theory, at its essence, equates plates with women and says that men should not commit to a single woman and instead keep their options open (ie.: spinning several plates at once).

Tomassi doesn’t say a man should never commit, but he does recommend not doing so before 30 or before he fully understands the lifetime value of men and women, what he really wants from life and the dynamics of the sexual marketplace.

Writes Rollo Tomassi:

A man is as confident and valuable as his options. This is the essence of abundance mindset – confidence is derived from options.

Spinning Plate for Abundance Mentality

Spinning different plates doesn’t mean that he must be sexual with all of them, or that he must keep spinning them all.

The idea is to have several different leads to help you internalize the idea that there are many women out there, that many women can suit you, and that you don’t have to take [email protected] from any of them because you can easily next her.

Spinning Plate for Best Girlfriend Choice

Spinning plates allow men to gain more dating and female knowledge, to discern low-quality women from high-quality women and, when he wants, it allows him to make a more informed choice.

Indeed, I would add that quantity is not antithetic to quality. Quantity is an enabler for quality.

And when you want to stop with a woman, you know that it was a choice you have done based on options and knowledge, and not on desperation.

Quantity enable quality

Be The Prize

Rollo Tomassi also says that the attitude that you are the prize of the relationship must underpin your plate spinning

When you are the prize, women will also accept non-exclusivity more, because, says Tomassi:

Women would rather share a successful man than be sadddled with a faithful loser

Which is a quote he attributes to Pook (read The Book of Pook).

Unplugging & Taking The Red Pill

Unplugging or “taking the red pill” is common red pill parlance for “coming to see things as they really are”.

In this case, it would be men dropping the mistaken assumption from society and embracing the manosphere theories and tenets.

Rollo Tomassi says there are typical stages of the red pill awakening:

  1. Denial – refusing to let go of previous beliefs
  2. Anger – awareness the pill makes sense, anger at society for feeding wrong ideas
  3. Bargaining – trying to keep some old beliefs
  4. Depression –  the red pill can be a tough one to swallow
  5. Acceptance  – becoming a knowledgeable, healthy rational male

Men’s Market Value Increase, Women’s Decrease

Our current culture pretends that men and women are the same.

But that’s crap, implies Rollo.
And nowhere is this more visible than in the sexual marketplace.

Women reach their peak at around 23 YO, when men are just starting their ascension, peaking at 36.
Tomassi says:

At age 23, while a girl is enjoying her prime value, a man is just beginning to make his own gradual ascent. By age 36, the average man has reached his own relative apex. It’s at this phase that his sexual/social/professional appeal has reached maturity.

And while women’s market value is mostly a consequence of her physical attractiveness, male attractiveness is only one factor.
Thus a rich 50YO will be more valuables than an average, run of the mill 30YO. That can hardly be the case for women.

Women Are Duped Into Losing Strategy

Tomaisi also seems to suggest that the current cultural climate of women being the same as men leads them into the mistaken assumption that “they have time”.

But when they reach their 30s after they spent their early 20s partying they eventually realize, sometimes too late, that their value is dropping fast.

I tend to agree with that.
Also read:

How to Keep a Woman’s Interest

Tomassi says you should never say it outright that you are seeing other women.

You should make it clear though if you’re not ready for commitment or you are stealing her time.
And lying to get pussy is what low-quality men do.

Tomassi recommends:

  • Let her glean from your behavior you have options
  • Don’t be too available
  • Don’t be there for her during the weekends

Shit Tests

Women test men to determine one or more of these factors:

  1. Confidence – first and foremost
  2. Options – is he into me or am I his only option?
  3. Security – is he able to provide long term?

Also read:

The Alpha Buddha

Listening to The Rational Male I was super curious of watching Corey Worthington’s interview, which for Tomassi exemplifies “alpha male behavior”.

It’s awesome indeed:

My Note: Not the best example of alpha male, though
It’s a piss funny interview, and he comes across as super solid.

But I think there are better examples of top male behavior. The guy here is not truly in charge of the frame and never even tries.
For example, when he says he won’t remove his glasses because they’re famous, that sounds like an excuse to deflect social pressure. A good and funny one, but an excuse nonetheless. I’d recommend people in similar situations to stop the buck simply saying “because I don’t want to“. Or to push her on the defensive with something like: “I’m not telling you to remove your shirt am I, so why are you telling me what I should or should not wear“.

Also read:

Rollo Tomassi Iron Rules

Tomassi lists 9 iron rules:

#1 Frame is everything

Control the frame, but don’t give the impression you are consciously doing so.

#2 Never share your sexual partner’s count

Albeit Tomassi does so in the book, and it’s 40 :).
In my experience though, most women don’t really care about it anyway. And if they asked, they never pressed me for a final number. 

#3 Don’t wait for women who make you wait

Any woman who makes you wait for sex, is not worth it.

I couldn’t agree more, except for fringe cases like very religious or virgins until late in life.

#4 Don’t ever live with a woman you’re not marrying

Either you’re married or you’re going to within six months

I disagree with this one. Living together can be a good test ride.

#5 Never allow a woman to be in control of birth control

LOL this one had me smiling. Use a condom, guys!

#6 Women are incapable of loving a man the way he expects to

I’m not sure about this one.
What exactly is the way a man expects to be loved? 

#7 Develop new relationships: don’t fix broken ones

Your time and effort are better spent looking for new ones than fixing the unfixable.
I agree. Albeit sometimes it can be difficult to know what’s “unfixable”. See here for some help on relationship diagnostics.

#8 Never help a woman figure out why she won’t f*ck you

This rule says that in the current paradigm women are the sexual selectors but you shouldn’t flip the script there and be the prize of the relationship (honestly I missed the connection between the title of this rule and its content)

#9 Never self-deprecate

Don’t self-deprecate or try to appeal to her sympathy or sense of guilt.

Yeah, for most guys, it’s true.
Usually, it’s OK to self-deprecate when your qualities speak for themselves, so it’s safe to make some jokes about yourself. On the other hand, when you are obviously good at something, then it’s usually a bad idea to self-promote.

Women ask for Mr. Dependable but fuck Mr. Exciting


I enjoyed reading “The Rational Male” and I think there is good content inside.

There are also parts I disagreed with though, and since the book is so popular and it will end in the hands of many men seeking for advice, I will comb it twice as hard as I normally do.

Here is all my criticism for “The Rational Male”:

#1. Some Unsubstantiated Claims (Or Wrong)

Several claims are not is not scientific or factually accurate.

Some of the ones that stood out to me:

  • Women obey the imperative of fucking the alpha man, while marrying the nice guy

I feel the word is used a bit too freely here.

It’s true that some women who can’t find an alpha and marry a “nice guy” might still lust after an alpha, but it’s not an imperative.
Women, like men, want the best they can get. Sometimes that means deploying a mixed strategy of getting great genes from one man and resources from another. But there is no stand-alone urge that says “fuck the alpha, lock down the nice guy guy”.

Non-paternity rates also show that Rollo’s “imperative” is not nearly as ubiquitous as he implies.
Data on this topic is of course hard to find, but a few studies show that if you take a DNA test because you are not sure you’re the father, then your chances of being cuckolded are slightly higher 1 in 3 (meaning 2 times out of 3 they are the actual father).

But on the overall population, the median among estimates is 3.7% including those who took the test ( One of the sources is here and another one here).

That means that 98+% of women father children from their “official” partners.
The data does not support the idea that most women are acting on the imperative of getting genes from an alpha and getting support from a beta.
Still, be watchful.

  • Poor application of scientific principles

Rollo says:

I completely disagree with idea that women will only fuck (or want to fuck) one guy at a time. I could outline several women I know from experience in this (…)

This is called inductive reasoning, such as looking at a few cases and generalizing to the whole population.
It’s not only unscientific, but prone to all kinds of personal biases.

Still, what Rollo says might be true of course. And for many women, it is. But the same is true for men. As a matter of fact, on average, women want to sleep around much less than men want to (among the many resources for this simple fact, see Ridley, 1993).

  • Increasing sex partners not a risk for VDs (?)

To make the point more sex does not mean higher risk, Rollo says:

In my lifetime I’ve had sex with over 40 women and I never once caught a venereal disease (..)
I can also point to men I know who contracted Herpes from the only women they’d ever had sex with. (..) you can equally be a rock star and tap hundreds of women without any consequence and you can be a virgin saint and contract a disease on your wedding night

To begin with, I’d hope Rollo used a condom at least some of the times.

When it comes to what I partially agree with him: the fear of VD might be overblown and VDs should not be your (main) reason to decide for monogamy.
But that quote above is the equivalent of the “95 YO who smokes two pack cigarettes a day, hence cigarettes are not bad” fallacy.

The danger is also that the more the woman is OK to not using a condom, the higher risk she is. Sometimes I even use it as a test. I pretend I’m not using any condom and see how she reacts.

  • Monogamy serving women’s interest (?)

Rollo writes:

Monogamy as a goal is a tool of the feminine imperative

That’s not true, monogamy can serve an individual interest, but it does not serve any gender interest at large.
Monogamy, serial monogamy or polyamory, per se, are gender-neutral.

A high-status man suffers with monogamy because he could more easily get more women. 
But a high-status woman gains from monogamy because a high-status male will be under pressure to commit to her.
And a lower status male gains with monogamy because the cultural expectation helps him get a woman (see Kanazawa, 2007).

  • Some games women play presented as facts (but that don’t add up)

Rollo says women tell men that “looks don’t matter” so that men won’t take care of themselves.

Why would they do so?

Because it allows women to keep having sex with the alpha males they are attracted to while still being able to rely on the resources of their less attractive partners.

This doesn’t make much sense to me: it’s too convoluted, and only works when men and women are already in a relationship.

Women do tell men that looks don’t’ matter.
But it’s mostly because they want to look like a safer option to invest on.

Women would otherwise gain if all men cared more about themselves: they’d have more to choose from, and that would give them more power.

  • Some made up evolutionary biology

Rollo says that women fall in love with the new alpha male because they had to adapt to invading tribes.
This sounds like it might be a good explanation, but it’s a conjecture. It’s not science and, in this case, it seems quite a bit random to me.

#2. The Feminine Imperative Governing the World (?)

I do believe many legal systems, in many Western countries, favor women in divorces.

But the “feminine imperative” shaping cultures and “feminine indoctrination” making men puppets is something I don’t agree with.

Culture and society are shaped by a multitude of forces. Forces which, even within genders, often push towards opposing directions.
And they do so on thousands of different topics, and all at once.

Believing there can be a single overarching theme that governs the world is to underestimate the complexities of said world.

#3. “Men VS Women” Frame Can Lead to Anger & Bitterness

The whole theme seems to be one of men VS women and their feminine society.

Rollo says that “men who pass shit-tests are those who see the sexes as complementary and not as an adversary“.
I couldn’t agree more, but the book doesn’t seem to walk that talk.

And that is especially the case when the “us” is positive and the “them” negative, which seems to be the case for “The Rational Male”.

Which is ironic, considering that human kindness and altruism have been most likely selected through sexual selection (first proposed by Boone, 1998, and see “The Mating Mind” for an overview).

Fixed-Pie Mindset: For Him to Win, She Must Lose (& Vice Versa)

Rollo Tomassi’s work seems based on the idea that if one gender wins, the other must lose.

And well, he’s not 100% wrong.
That it sometimes the case in all realms of socialization.

In game theory, this is called “defection strategy”.
And defection strategy is a rather poor strategy for long term relationships (Ridley, 1996)

In negotiation instead, this is called “fixed-pie mindset”, and it’s a poor mindset to optimize results (see Malhotra, 2007).

And even in sexual negotiations, there are some situations where one gender’s victory can mean his partner’s loss (see: sexual conflict).
However, there is also the possibility and opportunity to make that pie larger through cooperation. If that weren’t true, societies -and relationships- wouldn’t have formed at all.
But they did.

And, when it comes to long-term and repeated encounters, there is far more long-term power in seeking win-win (see: “fundamentals rules of power” and “strategies for power“).

#4. Writes Off The Provider Strategy (Which Can Be Effective)

The author doesn’t seem to consider that being a provider in a monogamous relationship can be a valid dating strategy and/or life choice for (some) men.

A focus on nesting up with a woman and providing for that nest is akin to choosing a quality reproductive strategy VS a quantity one.

Also, there are some benefits of securing a wife early and sticking with her, including more time to focus on other life endeavors and emotional stability (think of Warren Buffet, John Paulson, Jeff Bezos, etc.).

Again, I am NOT saying monogamy is good and you should go for it: I am happily single and not considering marriage at all.
But I do am saying that not all men who decide to enter 1:1 relationship are stupid or irrational.

Also read:

#5. Focuses on Male-Side, Missing a Neutral Overview

Albeit there are good analyses in “The Rational Male”, I believe it fails to provide a good overview of dating and dating power dynamics.


Because it only looks at the male side.
For example, Rollo focuses on the games women play, and men falling for them.
And there certainly women who dupe men.
And women, in general, are better and very effective at controlling relationships.

Also see:

But the view of men played by women is simplistic. Men play their own games.
Both genders, at times, seek to take advantage of one another.

  • The female (and male) dual sexual strategy

For example Rollo Tomassi describes the dualistic female dating strategy of seeking genes from strong men and resources from weak men (AKA: alpha fucks, beta bucks).

But he fails to see -or mention- that men use the exact same dual strategy (see Wright, 1994).

The male dual strategy is this:

Marry the pious girl and fuck the floozy

This dual strategy, when taken to an extreme, results in the Madonna-whore complex.

#6. Slight Misogynist Bias

I don’t say this gladly.

And I also know it’s potentially bad for business, since quite a few men who end up on this website arrive from red-pill communities. 

But still, I could sense a misogynist bias in “The Rational male”.

For example:

Since we live in a feminine defined reality, women’s game is not considered subterfuge, it’s simply how women are, or the feminine mystique


Women are utterly incapable of loving a man in the way that a man expects to be loved by a woman. (…) Men believe that love matters for the sake of it. Women love opportunistically.

It feels at times as if The Rational Male paints women as machiavellian and conniving, and if as if men couldn’t be the same.

#7. Where’s The Evidence for Women’s Incapability of Loving?

My experience differs.

I have been in love, some women fell in love with me and, at times, we both were in love at the same time.

Sure, men are more romantic indeed and more idealistic and women are more practical.
I also believe women can be more ruthless when it comes to moving on and cutting exes off (that’s because they operate on a smaller reproductive window).

But I can’t help but wonder here: are some men expecting a woman to love them as their mothers would?
Like unconditional love, no matter how naughty -or useless- he is?

Then it’s not women’s fault if they had wrong expectations.
Men aren’t going to love women the way a father would. And women aren’t going to provide unconditional love, either.
It’s just a different type of love. But it can be equally good.

I can tell you from a guy who’s been there.
Once, when I crashed into an ex-girlfriend’s place and did absolutely nothing to contribute to the household, she told me:

Her: only your mother wants you around if you don’t do anything.

And you know what?
She was damn right.
Don’t seek to be loved unconditionally. Seek to carry your own weight in life.

#8. Generalizing on “Women Nature” 

Tomassi has many categories for men.

There are “alphas”, “alpha providers”, “beta who don’t know the rules”, “red pill men who opened their eyes” etc.

But women all seem to be the same.

All driven by their biology the exact same way.
All playing games and all looking for an alpha to inseminate them and a beta to take care of them.

I found this over-generalizations one of the major drawbacks of “The Rational Male”.
It’s also not very informative, because not all women are created equals and different women have different tendencies for cheating.

Also read:

#9. Soso Advice for Relationships

I agree with developing options and being the leader of the relationship.

But, as for everything: balance.

Gottman’s research clearly shows that men who resist women’s influence end up with terrible relationships.
My recommendation is to be the leader of your relationship, but a benevolent leader who cares for the team.

Reading “The Rational Male” it felt to me like the leadership advocated in there was more of a “my leadership against you”.

“Needing her less” can also be a double-edged sword.
If you mean it as a man who has the ability to find women he likes, that’s awesome.
If you approach it like having one foot out as soon as you put your first foot in, then… Be a man and don’t get into a relationship at all.

#10. Potentially Dangerous Mindsets Might Lead to Abuse

This is one of the main reasons why I maintain a certain distance from extremist manosphere corners.

Psychology research shows that there is a certain overlap between men who buy into male superiority, men who seek power, and abusive men.
Men who buy into the idea of male superiority feel less of a man when they are not in control or when their wives outclass them in some meaningful way (ie.: earn more, speak better, higher education etc.).

And to protect their ego they can lash out to “re-assert” their dominance.

I am NOT saying this is the case for the author, for the Red Pill, or for most of the advice in “The Rational Male”.
But some of the mindsets behind “The Rational Male” series might make abusive relationship dynamics more likely.

Also read:

#11. Seducers Who Love Women Will Disagree

Part of Rollo Tomassi’s work should help men get laid.

Yet, some Rollo Tomassi’s philosophy will not work for men who want to sleep with women while also appreciating and loving women.

These types of seducers, and Casanova would have been one of them, are also the ones more likely find “The Rational Male” more on the misogynistic end of the spectrum.

Also read “psychological breakdown of womanizers“.

the rational male


Could have been briefer & better edited
Some concepts repeat, some topics bear little connection to their chapters and overall it feels like a collection of assembled posts.
The Rational Male would have gained hugely from better organization, structure, and better editing.

Too Much Under “Hypergamy”
Hypergamy means “marrying up” basically. 
In The Rational Male hypergamy ends up being a a bit too many different things, leading to a whole lot of stuff that seemed a bit far-fetched. Also read: why you shouldn’t worry about hypergamy.

Disagree on Some Advice
I didn’t agree with some of the advice, including:

  • Refusing the “LJBF”

The idea behind not being her friend is sound, but I believe that rejecting the “let’s just be friends” sends the wrong message.

Telling her you don’t want to be friends makes you sound butthurt and like you really wanted her as GF.

Instead, I recommend men they say: “sure, we are friends and we should stay friends“. Then never contact her again and be too busy to hangout if she contacts you.
Or check out here how to handle it via text.

  • Be as mannish as you can be

Tomassi makes the case that men must be masculine to attract women because women want manly men.
And seems to exhort the readers to be their most masculine selves.

That’s true… Up to a point.

Studies suggest women do have an upper limit and there is such a thing as “too masculine” in attraction.
Indeed, men with certain feminine traits can be very attractive to women.
I’m surprised Rollo misses it since he speaks highly of The Art of Seduction and Greene explains this concept rather well there.


Can Be Eye-Opening
Rollo Tomassi can be eye-opening for men who settled down too early, look at monogamy as the only option or never realize how much they might be giving for little in return.

Good Analysis of SMV
Good analysis of the sexual market value and how it changes depending on gender and age.

Some Great Reflection on Feminism & Femininity
I quote here with some smaller omission for brevity:

The characteristics that define masculinity (..) are now the aspirations of women to the point that ridicule of the feminine female is the order. In expecting women to be just as masculine as men, while simultaneously expecting them to still embody a feminine ideal, not only does this put undue, unrealistic ideals upon them, but also devalues the merits of their own femininity.

Well said Rollo, I just couldn’t agree more.

Very Good to Understand Games
The Rational Male is a very good text to understand a bit more on what are the games that women and, to a lesser extent, men play when it comes to dating.

Great Busting of Some Myths
I applaud Rollo for bashing and destroying sp,e myths out there, both in “mainstream society” and in the manosphere. A couple of there aer that looks matter little for men and that women are as sexual as men, if not more so. Neither of which are really true -albeit it is true that status matters more than looks in men-.


“The Rational Male” is a remarkable book.

It’s one of those texts that are not easy to evaluate because it mixes great content and potentially eye-opening wisdom with some poor assumptions.

Do I recommend you read “The Rational Male”?
But I also recommend you do so with a critical mind.

Also check out:

or get the book on Amazon

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Post Information
Title The Rational Male: Review & Notes
Author Lucio Buffalmano
Date November 9, 2018 5:30 PM UTC (4 years ago)
Blog The Power Moves
Archive Link https://theredarchive.com/blog/The-Power-Moves/the-rational-male-review-notes.29165
Original Link https://thepowermoves.com/the-rational-male/
You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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