When you’re out on the town and want to solely optimize on picking up a woman/man for sex, travel with friends who are slightly less attractive than you. If they’re more attractive than you, you look relatively less hot. If they’re absolutely ugly, you might look relatively good but such relative benefits are outweighed by being associated with ugliness.
When you’re at a meeting or in a professional function and want to solely optimize on being perceived as impressive, travel with the most impressive / smartest friends possible. Unlike in a sexual physical attraction situation, when you’re surrounded by really smart people the net gain is higher than any relative effects of perceived lower intelligence. Why?
One reason is when you’re around smart people they bring out your own intelligence. Active conversation — the interplay of two bright minds (even if the levels of brightness differ) — can raise your own perceived IQ, versus the passive sexual situation where your looks are set in stone from the moment you walk in the bar. Agreed?
Bottom Line: Relative perception effects differ in the sexual atmosphere of a bar than in the intellectual atmosphere of the boardroom.
(hat tip Chris Yeh for helping think through this theory)