Bumping up / Stepping Down

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Not sure why I am gravitating towards older topics, as this one was reestablished over lunch with a group comprised of predominately males.  A person who I highly respect (male) initiated the conversation by stating “Without a doubt she is a step up for you; I bet someone before you crushed her (feelings)."  As these men traded ideas and definitions of ‘stepping up’, ‘bumping down’ and leagues, I could not help to think that this theory deserved some discussion.

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If we look at things/people in numerical values, then everyone has a number that is given to them by the opposite gender/sex.  This value system is much like a critic who determines if a book, food, or movie is ‘good.' At times we hear the numerical value in comments such as, “He is a solid 8,” or “She is a 9.1."   This value system does not fully promote vanity, narcissism, or judgment, but does leave room for these qualities to exist.

The assumption is that men always look to ‘bump up.'  If a male feels he is a _____ (insert number here), he pursues a person of interest that is one value higher.  Based on conversation with males in different occupations and capacities of relationships, it was nearly universal that males wanted a woman who was above their point value.  This explains the competitive nature of males going after the ‘prettiest girl in the room’ (define pretty on your own accord).

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Do women share this desire to ‘bump up’?  One would think based on studies of symmetry that a women would choose someone ‘like them,’ or would desire someone with qualities that rival their own.  Males feel that this is not the case.  We believe that most women ‘step down’ from their numerical value for various reasons.  Based on discussion, these reasons vary from women wanting to be the center of attention, or perhaps they have been previously hurt, and/or they wish to avoid thoughts of inferiority.


Admittedly, there is no concrete evidence that each or any assumption is accurate.  Males and females seem to find evidence in celebrity couples, playful analysis of friends and family, and (hopefully) harmless judgment. It is important to know that as a woman you are nearly always viewed as the ‘step up’, and that is powerful.  In addition, I don’t know too many individuals who are fixated on the numerical value; it is more of a topic of a discussion and not worth getting upset over; ultimately be confident in yourself and know that men/women rarely agree on the opposite’s sexes numerical value. Is arbitrary a number?

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