What do women really want in a man?
Which attraction cues matter the most?
And what should you as a man be focused on to increase your desirability to women?
Whenever these questions are asked, a discussion about ‘female hypergamy’ likely isn’t far behind in the conversation.
The basic concept of female hypergamy is simply this:
That women will tend to be more attracted to, and more likely to mate with, men of a higher economic status than themselves.
In other words, men who earn more than they do.
No matter how you spin it, the ‘hypergamy conversation’ is an important part of the ‘attraction conversation’ for men.
But despite the increasing popularity of the term, and the fact that more and more content is being published about it in certain circles of the internet on a nearly daily basis (this is especially true in the manosphere), it has come to my attention that very few publishers delve deeply enough into the science behind it to uncover the truth about what it actually means for men.
Personally, in my life, I’ve experienced firsthand evidence of the fact that female hypergamy is indeed a real phenomenon that drives female mating behavior.
To me, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to examine my life and recognize that my economic status, as measured at any specific given point in time, strongly correlated both my perceived attraction on the dating marketplace and my overall success with women.
But it’s also obvious that economic status isn’t the only factor.
So in this post, you’re going to learn the truth about female hypergamy—not just from the man’s perspective, but also from the scientific perspective.
You’re also going to learn how you can use this knowledge to help you increase your own dating marketplace value, attract higher-value women, and just in-general have a better dating experience and more overall dating success.
Let’s pull back the veil and uncover the truth.
What Is Hypergamy?
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the term ‘hypergamy’ technically means “marriage into an equal or higher caste or social group.”
Nowadays, the term is usually used to define the observed, evolved behavioral tendency for heterosexual female humans to be attracted to, mate with, and marry men of higher economic standing.
Who Came Up with Hypergamy?
The history of hypergamy is an interesting one.
The terms ‘hypergamy’ and ‘hypogamy’ (the act of marrying someone of a lower social and economic class) both have Sanskrit roots in the Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu legal text that’s believed to date back as far as 1250 BCE.
The modern terms correspond with the Sanskrit terms Anuloma and Pratiloma, which are terms that mean marriages that are considered as “going with the grain,” and “going against the grain” respectively.
In other words, Pratiloma marriages, or marriages in which a high-born woman united with a man of low birth, were considered ‘condemned’ according to the law.
Does Hypergamy Actually Exist?
The interesting thing about human female economic hypergamy is that a lot of people deny that it exists, for a few different reasons.
Here are the two primary arguments that people in everyday conversation often cite in an attempt to disprove it.
Argument #1 – It’s Not a Gendered Behavior
Some people say that both men and women are hypergamous in their own ways. Therefore, to claim that it’s an evolved, inborn ‘female behavior’ is erroneous and only serves to falsely paint women as ‘gold diggers.’
Argument #2 – It’s Caused by the Gender Pay Gap
Some also say that hypergamy isn’t necessarily an evolved female trait, but that women have been forced into the behavior as a result of economic inequality.
In other words, proponents of this particular criticism believe that women don’t ‘marry up’ because that’s what they find attractive, but because for a long time, that was the only tool available to increase their social standing and achieve a greater chance for survivability, safety, and security for themselves and their offspring.
This criticism basically says that what many people call hypergamy is actually just ‘societal social conditioning’ intended to keep women from replacing men as the dominant earners in relationships.
As such, it’s incorrect to label it as a legitimate inborn female mating behavior.
But this also plays into the notion of income inequality—the notion that women simply earn less than men due to the gender pay gap—which perpetuates the income inequality in relationships and keeps women from being able to out-earn men.
The argument goes like this—if women make significantly less than men, then they don’t really have a choice but to mate with men who earn more.
Dispelling the ‘Myth’ That Hypergamy Is a Myth
Here at The Adult Man, our goal is to help men become better men. We also want to help men have better experiences with women.
And in order to do that, it’s imperative for men to understand the truth about female mating behavior.
There’s actually a lot of evidence to suggest that economic hypergamy is an evolved, inborn female mating behavior, and that it still persists in the world today—despite the gender revolution and the massive strides that have been made in gender equality over the course of the last 200 years.
So let’s dispel these two arguments first.
Dispelling Argument #1 – Hypergamy Actually Isn’t a Gendered Behavior
The thing about female economic hypergamy is that it specifies that ‘women will be attracted to men of higher economic status.’
And yet, when people hear the term ‘hypergamy’ used in a normal conversation, they’ll generally respond with some kind of criticism that sounds like this:
“Well, men AND women try to ‘marry up.’ It’s not ‘gendered’ behavior to want a partner who earns great money. It’s just common sense.”
But according to science, this isn’t necessarily true.
Do Men Have Hypergamy?
The fact of the matter is that men are NOT hypergamous.
In fact, what actually happens is that women tend to marry ‘up’ in terms of economic status, while men tend to marry ‘down,’ making men effectively economically hypogamous.
What Is the Opposite of Hypergamy?
The opposite of hypergamy is called ‘hypogamy.’
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, hypogamy is defined as “marriage into a lower case, class, or social group.”
Despite the fact that women are outperforming men in the western world in terms of education, which has created a scenario where ‘educational hypogamy’ is becoming increasingly common for women, women still tend to marry men who earn more than they do.
This was covered in pretty thorough detail in a study authored by Yue Qian, titled Gender Asymmetry in Educational and Income Assortative Marriage.
Now, there IS absolutely an argument to be made for the fact that men tend to:
- Select partners who are younger than they are, and
- Select partners who are more attractive than they are
But these are not ‘economically hypergamous’ traits.
These are gender specific traits that men have evolved to look for in women, both for fertility reasons and for status reasons.
Mating with women who are young and beautiful not only gives men a higher probability of successful procreation, but also supplies them with young, beautiful ‘arm candy’ that raises their social status and makes them look like a higher status man as a result.
Perhaps Helen Fisher said it as simply as it could be stated in her book Why We Love: The Nature And Chemistry Of Romantic Love:
In a survey of eight hundred personal advertisements placed in newspapers and magazines, American women sought partners who offered financial security twice as frequently as men did. Many female doctors, lawyers, and very wealthy women are interested in men with even more money and status than themselves. In fact, women everywhere in the world are more attracted to partners with education, ambition, wealth, respect, status, and position—the kinds of assets their prehistoric predecessors needed in a parenting partner. As scientists sum this up: men look for sex objects and women look for success objects.
Dispelling Argument #2 – Hypergamy Isn’t a Result of the Gender Wage Gap
Once again, I refer to Yue Qian’s study above to dispel this myth.
If this were the case, then you would expect women who earn more, who have higher educational levels, to break free from the ‘norm’ of consistently choosing mates who out-earn them to choose whatever types of mates they actually desire.
And yet, educated women persist in choosing to marry men who out-earn them, despite the fact that those ‘high earning men’ are more likely to be ‘less educated.’
This was further explored in a study by Margarita Chudnovskaya and Ridhi Kashyap, titled Is the End of Educational Hypergamy the End of Status Hypergamy? Evidence from Sweden.
In this study, the authors observe that “results for differences in disposable income reveal that for all educational pairings, men tend to out-earn women.”
They also observed that the wage gap didn’t account for this.
“However, men out-earn women in all union types, and our simulation suggests that the gender wage gap cannot be seen as the explanation for this inequality.”
Hypergamy and Dating
It’s obvious that female economic hypergamy has a drastic effect on female mating behavior and how women perceive men’s attractiveness on the dating marketplace.
But exactly how does hypergamy affect the dating process for men?
There are a few answers to this question. Let’s break them down.
Parental Investment Theory
Parental Investment Theory is basically a theory that evolutionary psychologists use to predict how men and women will utilize different mating strategies and behave differently on the dating marketplace.
The theory goes like this:
The sex that’s responsible for the greatest physiological investment in offspring (females in the human species) will tend to be more ‘choosy’ when it comes to selecting a sex partner.
Because mating errors are costly, and they’ll tend to be exponentially more costly to the sex saddled with the greatest physiological investment requirements in the event that sex results in pregnancy and childbirth.
This fits into the ‘hypergamy’ discussion because it would explain one reason for why women would want to select men of higher economic status.
In successfully implementing a hypergamous mating strategy, women would offset their greater childbearing risk and investment by procuring a partner with greater economic wealth, to help provide stability, safety, and security for herself and her offspring.
The Mate Switching Hypothesis
The Mate Switching Hypothesis, written by a collection of well known authors in the scientific community, attempts to explain why women sometimes choose to switch mates and have affairs.
On its own, it’s a profoundly interesting theory that deals with a lot of different topics related to how women track mate value, compare it to their own value, and make determinations for when to mate switch, and how to go about the process with as little ‘blowback’ as possible.
But there’s overlap here in our discussion about hypergamy that simply can’t be ignored.
First off, let’s look at a few quotes from the hypothesis. In this first quote, we learn that women track their partner’s mate value, and may use this information to choose to ‘disinvest’ from a relationship.
“Evidence suggests that women indeed continue to track their partner’s mate value across the relationship and use this information to invest or disinvest from relationships.”
We also learn that a lack of economic support is consistently cited as a reason for women to divorce men.
“For example, cross-cultural evidence indicates that inadequate economic support from the husband is a consistently cited reason for divorce (Betzig, 1989).”
We also learn that the more a man earns, the more likely it is that his female partner will attempt to ‘retain him’ as a mate.
“Furthermore, the magnitude of women’s mate retention effort positively correlates with
her partner’s income and status striving (Buss & Shackelford, 1997).”
And finally, the parts of the hypothesis that are relevant to the hypergamy discussion are all really summarized in this quote:
“Stated differently, women continue to attend to a partner’s resource/provisioning trajectory compared to alternatives, and may attend to or explore alternative mate possibilities when the current mate compares unfavorably.”
The hypothesis also points out that women, but pointedly not men, prioritize economic resources among opposite-sex friends (who may serve as ‘backup mates’ if the current mate doesn’t prove favorable).
What Does This Mean for Men?
To put it simply, men need to understand three vital and pertinent truths about how hypergamy may impact their success on the dating marketplace:
- Hypergamy is real and persistent, even in our modern age
- It exists for a reason—to facilitate greater survivability for women and their offspring
- Men who increase their economic status and earning potential will also increase a key attraction metric; and thus, women will be more likely to select them as mates
One thing that’s important to understand is that women command more natural value than men on the dating marketplace.
Women are overall choosier than men when it comes to mating opportunities—and so, they’re generally less likely to be impressed by (or attracted to) men who occupy a social standing lower than their own status.
Specifically speaking, women will always tend to be more attracted to men who have a greater potential for generating resources, who are also willing to share those resources.
When you look at the hypergamy chart, you’ll notice that women are always trying to ‘mate up,’ while men are tending to mate ‘across and down.’
This is hypergamy 101. This is how it works.
Therefore, you really don’t want to be a man at the bottom of the status hierarchy. These men have virtually zero access to women.
Elite men at the top of the status hierarchy, on the other hand, actually gain the ultimate advantage on the marketplace. High value men with high earning potential are actually the rarest commodity on the marketplace. And so, even the most attractive women will compete fiercely for these men.
That’s where all men want to be—in the ‘alpha’ spot at the top of the social hierarchy, where they’re ‘spoiled for choice,’ and gain the ability to virtually hand-pick whatever caliber of women they desire for themselves.
Money Isn’t the Only Factor
It’s also important to keep in mind that a man’s resource holdings (money in the bank) aren’t the only variable that engages female hypergamy.
A man’s ability to generate resources is another key part of the equation.
There are a lot of traits that aren’t directly related to his bank account that fit into this attraction metric.
For example, men who are:
- Hard workers
…Will also tend to engage female attraction on the basis of hypergamy, because even if these men don’t necessarily have ‘cash in the bank,’ they’re still displaying attributes that are likely to indicate that they’ll generate and possess ample resources someday in the future.
This is called ‘resource potential,’ and women are pretty good at picking up on it.
Age also plays into this. The younger a man is, the more willing women will be to overlook a small bank account in lieu of attributes that may signal that he’ll be a high earner in the future.
But as men get older, women grow less likely to overlook a small resource pool.
If you’re 20 years old with zero money, but have a lot of motivation to earn money—that may be sufficient to make you attractive to higher value women.
But if you’re 40 or 50, the game significantly changes.
You’re going to need to have some cash in the bank, or women will start to think that you’re ‘all talk, no walk.’
Does Hypergamy Mean That All Women Are Gold Diggers?
The term ‘gold digger’ is a pejorative, used to describe a woman who basically just dates men for money in order to extract material value from them before moving on to the next ‘richer’ guy.
If you take the basic idea of hypergamy and stretch it to the extreme, then technically you could come to the place where you see all women as gold diggers.
But it’s important to understand that this isn’t really a realistic viewpoint. Nor is it a particularly useful viewpoint to hold as a man.
Yes, possessing material wealth and the ability to create wealth are important attraction markers for men, because women value safety and security.
But this also doesn’t mean that women only care about leveraging their beauty for ‘free money.’
There are plenty of high value women in the world who just want a man to love them, choose them first over other women, commit to them, and act in a trustworthy manner.
These things may involve small elements of gaining advantages from his money, but that’s rarely the primary objective or the focus for high value women.
Generally, women are a lot more interested in working toward a stable, secure relationship with a man they love, care for, and find attractive than they are with draining a man’s bank account.
But, with that being said, it also pays to be careful.
Make sure that you vet partners well, and watch out for red flags that may indicate that the women you’re seeing are only seeing you for the material benefits you provide.
There are a lot of questions you should be asking yourself as you date women and vet them for value, such as:
- Is she generally a good person?
- Is she kind to others?
- Does she take responsibility for herself, work hard, and continue to level up in her own life?
- Does she strive to be your peace, or is she constantly creating conflict?
Unfortunately, there are some ‘gold diggers’ out there. So be aware of them.
If a woman seems far more preoccupied with your money, fancy dates, expensive dinners, and what you can buy her than with you as a person or as a man—that’s generally a really bad sign, and ignoring it could lead to pain, misery, and financial ruin.
Where Does Monogamy Fit In?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that women continue to track their own mate value, as well as the mate value of their partner and all potential partners on the periphery.
The Mate Switching Hypothesis, which you read about above, discusses this in great detail—and I believe it gives the best explanation available for why women sometimes choose to leave one man to ‘monkey branch’ to another.
I also see it as a reliable guide for understanding how women handle mate value tracking over time, and how they leverage this information to increase their odds for survival.
The main concern with hypergamy and its effect on monogamy, then, is this:
What if she starts dating you, but then gets the chance to ‘monkey branch’ up to a much higher value, wealthier man later on?
Does a woman’s hypergamous nature mean that she’ll constantly be scanning for new mates with greater resource potential, and making backup plans to switch over to them?
In other words, is it possible that no woman is completely truly monogamous with just one man?
The cold hard truth of the matter is yes. To a degree, this will always be a possibility.
This is female nature.
But it doesn’t always mean that the odds of it happening are high.
At the end of the day, your value as a man directly dictates how likely she is to want to ‘monkey branch’ away.
If you’re on your purpose, walking in masculine frame, alway striving to be the best man in the room, and seeking every day to become a better man for yourself, odds are good that she’s going to continue to see you as the highest value option—and that she’s going to continue to desire you.
This is how powerful, masculine men overcome the challenges imposed by hypergamy—by leveraging their masculine power and energy to always be the best men on the radar.
Speaking of ‘leveraging your masculine power,’ here’s how you go about the process of actually using hypergamy to your advantage on the dating marketplace.
9 Ways to Use Female Hypergamy to Your Advantage as a Man
1. Get Your Life Together
At the foundational level, the most basic and straightforward method for using hypergamy to your advantage as a man is to start working on (and improving) the most fundamental parts of your life, to build a solid basis for yourself first.
In other words, get your life together.
To start with, this means doing basic things that help you to be more stable and successful.
- Getting some money coming in
- Paying bills
- Taking care of yourself, and
- Managing your responsibilities
Even simple things like going to bed at a reasonable time, waking up at a consistent time, and starting a regular morning routine are important.
Getting your life together is the very first step to building your value as a man, and will leverage the natural function of hypergamy to improve your dating life.
2. Increase Your Value
After getting control of the basic stuff in your life, it’ll be time to start building upon those things to further increase your dating marketplace value.
The best way to think about this is to spend time every day leveling up your mind, body, and spirit.
Level up your spirit by cultivating spirituality in your life. This could mean getting more serious about your religious beliefs, or cultivating a deeper relationship with yourself that’ll lead you to a greater sense of peace, calm, and serenity.
3. Make Yourself Your Own Mental Point of Origin
Rollo Tomassi has talked about this concept at great length on his blog, The Rational Male.
Richard Cooper of Entrepreneurs In Cars has also discussed it, both on his YouTube channel and in his book The Unplugged Alpha: The No Bullsh*t Guide To Winning With Women & Life.
It’s incredibly solid advice.
And yet, the vast majority of men completely ignore it.
As you live your day to day life as a man, it’s vitally important to prioritize yourself and to spend the majority of your time and effort building yourself up, chasing excellence, and striving to become the best man you can be.
Unfortunately, most men abandon this philosophy to chase women, simp, and basically spend all of their time and resources giving away value instead of creating it for themselves.
Men do this because they live in a scarcity mentality and are desperate for female attention.
But this isn’t how you engage female hypergamy to make your dating life better.
If you want to be an attractive man on the dating marketplace and use hypergamy to your advantage, you must learn to make yourself your own first priority.
4. Set Yourself up as a Protector and Provider
Never forget that the core function of hypergamy is to facilitate the female’s instinct to seek out safety and security in her life.
To a great degree, this is what female attraction is built upon.
Women evolved this way to help them survive and thrive in the often brutal and dangerous climate of primitive human society.
But as a man, you can tap into this ancient human programming by broadcasting signals that show potential mates that you’re exactly the type of man who can offer what they’re looking for.
I’ll give you a personal example of this in my life.
When I first started dating after my marriage ended, while I was still living in the same house as my ex, I could barely get attractive women to pay attention to me.
But then, as soon as I moved into a new apartment and acquired my own domain and space, I saw a nearly instantaneous boost in the caliber of women I was able to pull.
This difference was nearly night and day.
Then, when I bought my own house and moved to a larger city, that effect was greatly increased again.
Every time I’ve upgraded my living quarters and domain, I’ve noticed that hotter women take me more seriously as a dating prospect.
Because every time I upgrade my domain and living space, I send out stronger safety and security signals.
I’m the type of man who’s capable of owning his own house.
Therefore, I’m ranked above other men who can’t afford the quality of house I own—and to a much greater degree, those who can’t afford their own space at all (i.e. men who still live in their parent’s basement).
The same is true for transportation. When I got a nicer car, it increased my attraction.
It all matters.
Building assets in your life that’ll facilitate greater safety and security for your family and inner circle will always make you a more desirable man, period.
This is true regardless of whether or not you’re actually offering to leverage these assets for women.
Just the fact that you have them makes you more attractive.
5. Be the Best Man in the Room
Leveling up and striving to be a better man every day is where it starts.
But eventually, it’ll be important to take notice of the types of men you’re competing against, and to use these comparisons as a meter for how much work you should probably be doing to level yourself up.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should constantly be comparing yourself to other people and ‘chasing the Joneses.’
But it does mean that it’s in your best interest to be aware of your competition on the dating marketplace, and to constantly strive to hit marks above those levels.
When you’re in a room full of men within your typical social circles, are you the fittest, healthiest, strongest man in the room?
Do you earn the most?
Do you have the best style?
Are you the most confident man with the greatest social aptitude?
Is your game better?
Are you a man with a grand purpose, who understands his goals better than his competitors?
Are you the most lethal and physically dangerous man in the room?
These are all extremely important questions to ask yourself.
You don’t necessarily have to be the best in all of these categories to become incredibly successful at dating.
However, hypergamy will always drive women to try to get the best deal they can get.
So the better you get at increasing your value in all of these different areas, the better you’ll look in comparison to the other options available—and the more women will pre-select you instead of someone else.
6. Broadcast Strong Value Signals
Leveling up as a man, increasing your value, and striving to be the best man in the room are all excellent and necessary steps in engaging hypergamy to increase your dating success.
However, it’s also important that you learn how to effectively broadcast these signals to the women in your social circles.
There’s a fine art to this—and to a degree, every man will have to cultivate his own style.
It’s also important that you find a way to broadcast these signals organically without putting on a show, acting arrogant, or coming across like you’re just trying to impress people.
For example, my technique for doing this is to share details about my goals, passions, and purpose with the women I’m interacting with.
These are very organic things for me to talk about because I love talking about them.
This also gives me a great opportunity to ask the women I’m engaging with about their passions, purpose, and goals as well.
See, as I date and engage with women, I’m constantly vetting them and trying to find the highest value women to spend time with.
So this all fits together and works for the benefit of all involved.
- Women the opportunity to broadcast their signals to me
- Me the opportunity to broadcast my signals to them, and
- Both of us the best chance of getting to know each other organically
Every man will probably find a slightly different way to engage this technique in his interactions with women.
But whatever you do, just make sure that you do it authentically.
You definitely don’t want to come across as the type of man who’s just trying to impress women or gain unmerited attention.
7. Stop Simping
Today, we live in a society where the vast majority of men thoughtlessly and senselessly give away tons of time and value by simping for women they’ll never have a chance with.
When men think of simping, they often think about giving women money or helping to pay their bills without getting anything in return.
But it’s crucially important to understand that it actually goes much deeper than this.
Simping isn’t just the act of giving a woman money.
It’s actually an overarching, inborn behavior pattern that we must break free from if we want to increase our value and broadcast strong attraction signals to women.
Here are some examples of ways that men simp for women every day without even realizing it:
- Heart reacting to girls’ pictures on Instagram
- Watching porn
- Paying for webcam models
- Paying sex workers on OnlyFans
- Constantly DMing women on social media who aren’t enthusiastically responding to you and trying to spend time with you in the real world
- Succumbing to oneitis for a woman who isn’t completely matching your effort
- Spending any money on any woman whatsoever if it’s motivated by the desire to either date or sleep with her when you’re not getting regular sex from her, and
- Endlessly swiping on dating profiles without getting any concrete results from your efforts
Some of these things may not seem so bad.
But all of them involve spending your valuable time, resources, and value on women who aren’t contributing to your real life in a real way.
8. Become a Scarce Commodity
Remember, hypergamy drives women to seek the best deal they can get on the dating marketplace.
Think about collectibles. Which ones are the most valuable?
Generally speaking, the scarcest, rarest, most sought after commodities are the ones that command the highest price.
And so, as men, it’s in our best interest to engage the concept of ‘market scarcity’ to drive up our own value.
This is partly why it’s so important not to simp for women.
You should strive to be a man of such a high caliber that many women desire you. But few should ever get to enjoy your attention.
Then, even fewer still should ever get the opportunity to spend time with you or benefit from your hard fought, hard won, hard earned resources.
Men who give away their value willy nilly to a wide swathe of low-value women lower their market value—while men who reserve their value for only the select few women they deem as ‘deserving’ actually drive up their value on the dating marketplace.
This is a pretty simple concept in theory, but a lot of men struggle with it.
Many men are just plain desperate for female attention, and that drives them to live with a scarcity mentality instead of an abundance mindset.
The better you get at making yourself a scarce, yet valuable commodity on the dating marketplace, the more you’ll engage the instincts of female hypergamy and signal higher mate values than your rivals.
9. Set Ironclad Boundaries
Another important rule to remember is that hypergamy drives women to want men who are better than them.
And one of the best ways to use this to your advantage is to legitimately be better than her.
And one of the best ways to broadcast this is by learning how to command respect as a man without putting up with any nonsense from the women you date.
Be quick to set firm boundaries with masculine power, kindness, and respect.
If a woman won’t respond to your boundaries and continues to disrespect you, execute the nuclear option and walk away from her.
This is a real-life demonstration of your high value and standards.
It never fails. Whenever I draw firm boundaries with women, they either:
- Get mad and further disrespect me, which causes me to walk away from them, or
- They adjust their behavior, and get super turned-on that I set them straight—which seems to make them want to sleep with me even more
Women respond really well to men who can leverage their masculine power to set firm boundaries, because it lets them know that you’re a man who’s in control of not only your own emotions and faculties, but who also commands high standards in his life with zero tolerance for disrespect or nonsense.
All of this helps you to broadcast a ton of value that most men never tap into.
There you have it!
I trust now that you have a better appreciation for exactly what female hypergamy is, and how to use it to your advantage as a man.
Just remember—the whole point of this is to understand female nature better, so that you can level-up as a man and succeed on the dating marketplace.
And the baseline is this—to strive every day to become the best, highest value man possible.
That’s the hard work. Take care of that first, and then it’ll be a lot easier to put all of the other pieces into place.
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Go with grace, my friends. And never give up your power.