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July 1, 2009

Love and war of the sexes

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:27 pm

A lot has been written on the topic of human male-female relations. I should know — I read a lot of it. And having done enough of my own “research”, I think I’m qualified to present my findings. Let’s paint a picture of what’s really going on.

The two factors

It seems to me that most of the dynamics we observe in male-female relations stem from two main factors:

  1. Society’s restrictions on who we may meet, how many partners we may have, etc.
  2. Attraction triggers in men are much more universal than in women.

Let’s take a look at each of these. The wide-ranging effects of the first factor can be observed by looking at different societies, both throughout the world and throughout history. Some societies are very restrictive and essentially enforce courtship and marriage (sometimes arranged) as the only legitimate option. On the other extreme, we have free love movements, where people can freely express their sexuality without necessarily shutting off all other options for the rest of their life. The changes brought about in this country by the sexual revolution of the 1960s affect us all throughout America. Older ideas about chastity, properness, dating and marriage, are hardly as widespread as they once were.

The second factor polarizes male-female relationships, and leads to interesting phenomena depending on the society. It can be characterized like this: place a beautiful woman in 10 different situations, each with 10 different men, and they will all find her attractive. Place a man in 10 different situations, and in some he will come out attractive (such as when he is in a band or captain of the football team) to pretty much all women present, and in others he will be looked over by almost all women (such as when he’s in a starbucks getting coffee). Now, it is true: certain physical traits are attractive to most women … height, well developed musculature, and so forth. But on the whole, they do not dominate the other attraction triggers, as women’s looks do in men.

Women have long learned that looks are extremely important in attracting the opposite sex. I should clarify, though, a woman’s sex appeal is not just based on looks — as is commonly said — but also the implications such as being in shape, physicality, etc. … in short her sex appeal is universally tied to how physically satisfying the potential sexually charged activities would be with her. (This is what most men imagine.)

Men, on the other hand, may shine in some situations but not others, even sporting the same exact look and style. There are lots of nuances but the bottom line is this: traits that women consider attractive — whether they realize it or not — are almost always correlated with the man’s social circle and his status within it. For example, a man who is confident and uninhibited — let’s call him the “bad boy”. This man is attractive not only because he is more exciting, but there is a deeper implication: his social status among his friends is different from the men who are proper and try to fit in. Those men probably occupy average positions in social circles. The bad boy doesn’t try to please everybody, so those people who remain with him do so because they love to be around him. Thus, when a woman is out with him, she knows she is also surrounded by a social circle that gives him a lot of respect (which in evolutionary terms leads to better protection and resources, and in modern terms leads to more fun). We can see lots of similarities to this in nature, with the “alpha male” expressing himself without trying to fit in, etc. These traits may run counter to other qualities the woman is looking for — tenderness, responsibility — so her search is a more difficult one.

Consequences

Let’s start with some direct consequences of this situation. Because women’s beauty is a much more universal attraction trigger for men, it is polarizing. Women who are really beautiful, from the time they are teenagers, start realizing that men are always after them wherever they go. In societies where men can meet women freely, the majority of men are fixated on these women as their main choice whenever an opportunity arises. This leads beautiful women to believe they can get almost any man at any time.

Traditionally, women were to be sheltered and protected, and it was a man’s role to take risks and physical challenges. Nowadays, our society is very different and diverse, but these gender roles endure — even though they are outdated and sometimes wind up hurting both genders.

As an example, here is the typical way these historical ideas about gender roles hurt people today: it is commonly accepted that the man should make the first move and approach a woman. He should “ask her out” and possibly risk getting a polite “no”. Sounds fine, except let’s combine it with what we already learned about, above. The men will wind up asking out lots of beautiful women — because they are the ones the men are attracted to the most. The beautiful women are a small part of the overall population, and they are almost always seeing someone, because every time they go out they can meet men who’d like to date them — and some of those men do.

But there’s a dark side to all of this: many women are tired of constantly getting “hit on” by men everywhere they go.  Their responses are no longer polite — the man might come up all nice, and they’d give him a scathing look or ignore him altogether. That leads to the modern notion of beautiful girls “all being bitches”, or something similar. It’s true that their life is different and even their friends might be jealous of it. Some do become conceited or have high expectations (e.g. money to be lavished on them). They want to enjoy their time as much as they can, because their beauty is temporary (which is another factor). They are less willing to settle down than their plainer-looking counterparts, as can be readily seen in the studies.

Men’s experience is much more varied. Most men don’t have qualities that automatically draw women to them (such as fame and money, which can constantly put a man into situations where he appears attractive). So unlike beautiful women, it is up to them whether to engage with the opposite sex. On the average, men get approached much, much less often than women. So it’s up to them to choose how they will meet someone. Some men take the shot whenever they see a woman that they like — be it on the street, in a coffee shop, or in a bar. Almost all these men get rejections the majority of the time. And these are not your grandmother’s rejections. Looking at what we’ve established about modern male-female relations, we have the following:

  • free dating — meet pretty much anyone, no social pressure to make a long term commitment
  • this leads to lots of men asking the women they want out
  • social stigma from having too many partners (being “such a slut”, etc.)
  • this leads to women being as selective as possible, to protect their image
  • this, in turn, leads to more women being obnoxious to the random guys, because there are no consequences
  • this leads to nice guys getting tons of emotional abuse, and bad boys playing the field
  • finally, this means that these days the men who don’t have a problem with constantly chasing skirts, get most of the women. Because the others just get out of the game because rejections are too paintful, and settle down.

Social Dynamics

Women are social creatures. You’ll rarely see woman out at night by herself — she is either with friends or with a guy. Obviously, this is for protection, but it also developed a secondary function — social display. Women spend hours getting ready to go out for a reason.

We already spoke about how most of a man’s attractive qualities are tied to his social circle and his standing within it. It would do well for men to appear in groups, then. A solitary dude has a much lower chance of conveying his social circle status. Yet most men are pretty much “each man for himself” when they go out — completely the opposite of women. It’s true, they don’t need the “protection” that women seek, but they also significantly reduce their opportunities to display their social circle. At that point, their best bet is to show their social skills among the ad-hoc group that forms in the bar, or at the party. The man who masters this consistently becomes one of the most attractive men in the room.

Among animals, there is a behavior called lekking. This is where males put on competitive displays to attract females. Some women in today’s feminist-influenced society may talk badly about “macho behavior” or “guys always being so competitive”, but there is a counterpart in human society which attracts women despite anything they say. It is when a group of guys comes in and starts having competitive fun. Not only do they put on a loud display that everyone else in the room takes notice, but also the winners of the competition are seen as very attractive. This is an example of how social circles can help men be consistently seen as attractive.

to be continued…

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