Monthly Archives: November 2011

Day Game Encounter: Poinsettias in the Pet Aisle

It was the evening and I was wearing my Santa hat; I stopped by the grocery store to grab a bottle of Omega-3 (seriously, take that shit if you aren’t already) and grabbed a poinsettia on an impulse buy. I was going to approach a woman in the cheese aisle, but she turned her back to me whilst examine a wondrous collection of bries and I was logistically blocked from opening.

I was browsing the drugs and saw a thin middle-aged brunette woman in the next aisle where the pet food was. As I approached I saw no ring on the left ring finger, she was turned to face me and I opened by gesturing with the plant.

“Hey, do you think this goes with my hat?”

“Hmm, I dunno, I think you need more glitter on your hat to match the shiny paper.”

(noticing her red scarf) “You know it looks like you match it too.”

“And my socks!” (She points to her feet…she’s increasing investment in the conversation)

“Look at us, we’re just like the stores, starting Christmas before December even…”

(with nonreaction) “You’re not coming from a Christmas party are you?”

“No, not quite yet…”

We were in the pet aisle, which provided a perfect segue into another ramble point:

“…you know I’ve heard stories of dogs eating poinsettia leaves and getting sick.”

(with a smile and a laugh) “Oh, I don’t think I’d feed that to my dog.” (Excellent news, not a cat lady)

“Dogs are such sweet animals, they are so curious, they’ll put anything they can find into their mouths.” (another laugh from her)

I could have continued on with the ramble, perhaps noting that because dogs can’t talk, it’s pretty transparent when they are trying to dominate you, or alternately manipulate you, unlike people who can access and fool our rational centers. Or discussed the comfort of the Christmas holiday with a dog warming your feet, or of the dog begging at Thanksgiving dinner. The most obvious personal question she might have asked is whether I had a dog; dropping personal questions is a big sign of escalation in the day-game conversation.

Alas I was tired and my verbal circuits weren’t firing quickly; I fiddled with some rawhide products to avoid the impression I was ejecting and then skedaddled down to the register.

Let’s recap.

1. She found my opener at least mildly humorous and stayed to hear what I had to say

2. She drew attention to herself telling me to look at her socks

3. She laughed more than once, and wasn’t in any hurry to leave the aisle once I had her in conversation

A successful approach, for as far as I took it.

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Rock and Roll Dreams

My middle school happened to be stuffed with musically-talented budding rock stars. I had picked up both the guitar and the drum kit in the fifth grade, spurred on by the tide of new and energetic music coming out of the alternative rock scene, and several students followed my lead. It was only a matter of time before we started forming rock bands.

Despite being a very skilled guitar player (especially for my age), I always found myself behind the trap kit; I was the only kid in the school who could play the drums, which guaranteed that every band needed me in it. My intense study and imitation of Neil Peart of Rush and Stewart Copeland of the Police gave me a versatility that fit me in several styles.

All told we had about five bands in middle school (including two separate incarnations of the same lineup), of which only two ever actually met to practice let alone play a gig. We spent downtime in class drawing logos and album artwork and writing up set lists composed of song titles we’d never end up writing. Debates raged about which guitars were appropriate for our artistic look, how we would arrange the group on stage and whether the drummer needed to lift weights and wear short-sleeved shirts in concert.

The whole thing had a huge undercurrent of manufactured drama. The interpersonal politics from the first (real) band, which involved a kleptomaniac/pathological liar, got so bad that the second (real) band wrote a song about him. In retrospect it brings to mind the first world problem “I didn’t have a shitty childhood so I can’t turn my pain into art.”

The stuff really hit the fan when, desperate to get some time on the axe, I decided to form a second band in which I would play the guitar. I hadn’t quite figured out what we’d do about the drums but maybe we’d play acoustic or only use percussion.

A friend of the primary band inquired about joining. I wrote a note to our lead guitarist explaining that I felt his musical abilities were redundant in our group and saying some unflattering things about his personality, while also stating I was considering him for my side project.

Ever the man of social skill, he pulled a classic takeaway move by replying to the following effect: “wtf is this side project? We don’t have to accommodate someone who can’t dedicate himself to our group. We’ll find a new drummer.” Years later I realized my own bargaining power (there literally were no more drummers), long after I meekly supplicated my way back into his good graces. To boot, he left the note on the floor of my basement, where it was found by the outcast friend and then I had some real apologizing to do.

The following summer I got fed up with the lack of focus of the group at practice and the poor quality of a long-promised hit song presented by the frontman and one of the guitar players, and quit on the spot. Little did I know I was pulling a takeaway of my own; they reapproached me when school was back in session, saying they had a plan for success (and better songs)…oh, and, uh, they had struck a deal to play a school assembly and were really hurting for a drummer to round out the group.

Having a gig on the calendar, an item of focus to prevent eternal squabbles in the practice studio, was enough to bring me back on board, and we really started to function as a band and not a glorified talent show cover group. Although I was pretty creative within the bounds of basic rock drumming, my social-dominance skills were not well developed at that age so I was pretty much walked over in terms of the oeuvre and set list. But thanks to my deep study of the gigging business and studio equipment, I could produce and engineer the recordings and hook up all the amplification equipment. (Let me tell you, musicians today have it easy with computer-based hard-disk recording; I still have the four-track 1/4″ tape recorder we used, a kludged and cost-cut version of technology that was introduced in the 1950’s.)

When we showed up to play I made sure we were ready, plugged in and tuned up.

We split to different high schools after graduation and couldn’t keep the group together. It was too bad, because it was a great experience: writing songs, playing on stage, strutting in the hallways as we passed out cassette tapes of our latest tracks, expanding beyond our primary influences like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins by introducing each other to groups like the Beatles, the Doors and Led Zeppelin. We went balls to the wall, never wavered in our passion and were by far the coolest guys in the school.

Despite the short window, it was the kindling to a few careers in the business (most notably not mine). One of the guitar players founded his own label in college, did a few tours and is living the dream as a starving artist. Another guy got into a large rock combo that was signed to an independent label and had a song make the soundtrack of a television show. Yet another lived a rock-star lifestyle without the commensurate success and died young.

Our seriousness and dedication probably surprised our classmates and parents, but we were lucky to be too young to know that kids weren’t supposed to do stuff like that so well.

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Styles Upon Styles Upon Styles Is What I Have

This goes out to all my readers in the Hudson Valley.

A Tribe Called Quest’s 1991 album “The Low End Theory” has been cited as the defining marker between old- and new-school hip hop, although I think it’s more a work of sui generis quality than a transition point. Drawing heavily from jazz in both samples and style, and sometimes backing the vocals with only a trap kit and a string bass, the sound intentionally strips down in favor of a spontaneous edge that brings the personable MCs to the forefront. This differentiates it from the pop-style production of the parallel new jack swing and R+B genres (new jack swing is referenced in one of the tracks).

The style avoids the shock-jock punch of gangsta rap that would go mainstream a couple of years later, although it’s interesting to note that NWA’s in-your-face “Straight Outta Compton” was credited as an influence on Tribe – one that can be heard in the album’s sludgy tone. If John Bonham were to produce a rap record, this would be it.

Although Tribe was well-known and the album a success, The Low End Theory has an anonymous quality to it, as if the group had showed up to an open-mic night, done the material on stage and gone home without waiting for the groupies.

“Buggin’ Out” showcases dizzying rhythmic and verbal syncopation.

I especially like “Butter,” which juxtaposes Phife Dawg’s high-school player days against his annoyance with superficial attention whores after he made it big.


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The Greek Crisis in Perspective

John D. Cook quotes a pair of tweets from Dan Snow, the self-styled “History Guy:”

BBC reporter: ‘This could be the worst crisis Greece has ever known’. There speaks a man without a history degree.

Greece has been ravaged by Persian Immortals, Roman legionaries, Huns, Janissaries, Russian cossacks, Nazi stormtroopers. She’s seen worse.

 

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A Badger Hut Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers (you Canadians have it both ways, you had your Thanksgiving last month and can sneak across the border for some November turkey).

My family has always been quick to invite various acquaintances to the Thanksgiving meal, people who couldn’t get to their own families, which combined with the potlucking of dishes has always given the holiday a spirit of friendliness and generosity. While I try to get back to the family home, as long as that spirit is present I’m not that concerned about whom I spend the holiday with.

Of course, there are peripheral benefits to holiday travel.

The Coney Dog, a heavenly treat

The airport restaurant told me they are no longer serving Vernor’s. Bitch please.

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Pressure-Free Fun, Received Boomerism and the Fear of Failure

Susan Walsh posted last week about the frozen margaritas she would make in her younger years, and how they complemented Friday nights with Mr HUS:

“we got in the habit of collapsing after a long work week with a pitcher of frozen margaritas and reggae on the stereo…We’d slurp our drinks and dance, and I always wanted to lead, but Mr. HUS would just stand still with his arms crossed until I stopped misbehaving.”

This is so charming and simple, and for some reason it feels so foreign and strange. I’m telling you, among the educated class in the Millenial generation there is so much damn pressure to be working and learning and growing and – here’s the kicker – being “cool,” that it’s almost bizarre to think a young couple would just drink and dance in their own house and enjoy it.

It’s like a cultural rat race pressing down on my generation. There’s this nonjudgmentalism fetish around the culture, but at the same time there’s so much pressure to not be a fuddy duddy. It even slips down to booze – instead of just drinking, we feel like we need to be drinking fine bourbon or top wine. There’s cultural cachet to watching heady HBO dramas or reading culturally-approved modern pop literature instead of enjoying classics.

Hipsters, of all people, have tried to make valor out of the pedestrian, and it’s not just about their clothes, it’s about their skinny-fit and intentionally-mismatched clothes, their consumption of offbeat culture and music and even their smoking, an intentionally self-destructive behavior that belies their epicurean subculture (it recalls one of Roissy’s later maxims that expendability is a DHV). All the hipsters I’ve met have been pretty nice guys, but on a macro level they are cultural badboys.

Someone at HUS recently mentioned Joan Holloway of Mad Men playing her accordion in an episode. Before the radio, housewives were venerated for their ability to play parlor instruments to entertain the family (creating the market for sheet music that WAS the pre-modern music industry). Today, learning band instruments is another activity of overscheduled kids packing their resumes for college applications.

I notice a lot of poker players in my generation (in a quest for socially-approved expressions of masculinity, with its attendant competitiveness and shit-talking), but also what seems to be a loss of more recreational card games like hearts, cribbage and euchre. My parents love to play cards with us kids and their own parents, it’s just a pastime with no greater meaning. No one laments the loss of time that could have gone into “classier” pursuits. But today card games and board games are seen as geeky and offbeat, a sort of countercultural statement. It’s like mindless fun isn’t OK, you have to put on an expensive wardrobe and buy expensive cocktails and have a soul-crushing night of forced socialization to feel like you’re having socially-approved fun.

I had lunch with a former boss last week, a late Boomer/early Gen X-er with a thoughtful eye towards social trends, and I mentioned what I saw as a pervasive fear of failure among my generation, which I believed was at least partly a fear of letting down our parents – who never let us forget what high hopes they had for us, nor the sense that they were relying on us to carry out and finish the dreams of their youth.

He replied that he had had the exact same discussion several times recently. He added that when he was young, it was understood that young people were going to make mistakes in work and life, that it was part of the growing process – but that today he saw a lot of people defined by their incidental failures with nary a chance to redeem themselves. Which I suppose validates my cohort’s concerns. I shouldn’t have to mention that politics – who know whom – is a big factor in escaping the scarlet letter.

Boomers are alternately lauded and mocked for their idealism, and for the failure of that idealism with divorce, war and economic strife that has followed them in adulthood. What the Boomers passed to my generation was the idealism, but stripped of the knowledge that idealism is messy, that it comes with failure and false starts and with suffering the consequences of your convictions (notice the trend of attachment parenting/helicopter parenting where parents take a direct role in shielding their children from the important lessons that failure and disappointment impart to young people).

Some of my cohortmates have responded to this subtle pressure of expectations with perfectionism, and the eventual neurosis that comes with it – spectacular burnout, depression, bitterness or self-harm.

Some of them, who never even tried to fake the perfectionism in the first place, turn the other way to a sort of primary fatalistic nhilism – a sequence of pornography, promiscuity, junk culture, lack of ambition or a belief that their work can contribute to society, self-medication,  profligacy in pursuit of achievable material comforts against unachievable philosophical ones.

Frost and Ferdinand Bardamu have dubbed the maturing crop of youth “Generation Zero.” Fly Fresh and Young (don’t know what’s with all these F’s) drops all pretense with “Generation Nihilism.”

This modern neurosis, the first-world problem, of being afraid to get your ego bumped around, has to be scrapped to accomplish things. The only way to go from good to great is to destroy your ego and accept failure as a necessary step on the path – otherwise your self-consciousness and self-flattery will hold you back from seeing the dull points that need to be polished. That means giving up the comfort of things being consistently OK.

When I’m out about town and get rejected or blown out of a set, I immediately turn to the next woman and open her. I process the failure and learn from it, but I don’t let it define me except to become part of the knowledge base I use as experience. Same with a screw-up in my career. Did I do that? OK, I wasn’t born with that knowledge, let’s figure out how to do it right next time. In this way, failing actually moves me ahead of where I was before it occurred.

If we’re not ready as a generation to break out of our control-freaking comfort zones, and not as a society to accept some bumps in the road as the price of a building a capable and well-drilled cohort of people to handle the reins for the next quarter-century, then we’ve devolved and are not much better than dogs or horses, emerging from the womb as miniaturized versions of our adult selves – growing quickly into a vapid, animalistic existence driven by little more than our atavistic instincts and the subconscious social-validation layer that sits atop it.

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Mommyland’s First World Problems

The girls from Rants From Mommyland have wrapped up their First World Problems contest. Susan Walsh herself contributed some whoppers. I was partial to the Starbucks one, but we ultimately decided that “the backyard looks ugly when the pool cover is on” took the cake for pure venal decadence.

They even spoofed the Crying Dawson image to include their own finalists. Well done, ladies.

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Gaming the Group

There’s a joke about parenting that I like to share with parents I know, to let them know I have an appreciation for the challenges of their task.

Who’s harder to parent, sons or daughters?

Well, with a son you only have to worry about one penis. With a daughter you have to worry about all of them!

A pair of discussions about the risk-reward factors of a woman who eschews female friendship led me to consider a variation of that quip that invokes the wisdom of preselection and intrasexual competition.

Who has a bigger challenge in dating, men or women?

Well, if you’re a woman, you only have to turn one guy on; if you’re a guy you have to make all her friends tingle, too.

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Filed under beta guide, dating and field game, girl guide, original research

I’m Just Sayin’

The Private Man posted tonight about an unfortunate tendency of rude and obnoxious women to excuse their verbal violence with markers like “I’m a woman who speaks her mind.”

While they are proud to carry the mantle of the “modern empowered female,” at the same time they are relying on the chivalry of a bygone age to protect them from blowback, in that they expect proximal men to keep the gloves on and not be rude to a “lady” in public.

This is part and parcel of the “you go girl” mantra we man-bloggers criticize so much, a schema in which women can fly the flag of modernity yet count on the vestiges of traditionalism to protect them from the consequences of their overreach. Private Man has even compiled a list of self-descriptive words that reveal (or highly suggest) that a woman might labor under the pretense that everyone around her needs to hear whatever negative thought emerges from her brain.

Sometimes they buttress their venal arguments with feminist mythmakings about past oppression like “my grandmother lived in a time when women weren’t allowed to have opinions!” despite the fact that granny’s mother lived most if not all of her adult life after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. And a man who says he’d rather not be with a woman with a defective verbal filter will get shamed with the fire of false dichotomy: “you can’t deal with a strong woman! You just want women to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and pump up your ego!”

From knowyourmeme.com. This one's for you, Athol Kay

Shaking my head. It’s like any woman who practices a degree of discretion or tact is a scab, unforgivably betraying the feminist cause. Then again, we know that one of the stereotyped slogans of feminism has long been “act like the men do,” so perhaps saying obnoxious and offensive things fits with their twisted, caricatured perception of masculinity.

I don’t like to argue in conversation, but I can respect a person who can take it as much as they dish it out. However, male or female, I find “speaking my mind” types aren’t usually throwing out contrarian opinions on tax policy or the Police reunion tour – they’re delivering personal insults and unsolicited criticism, and then hiding behind the cheap rhetoric of “I’m just trying to be honest! Do you want me to lie to you?”

Anyway, the whole discussion reminds me of a great video I saw last week highlighting the fakeness of insulting someone and then excusing it with “I’m just sayin’“:

I’ve really enjoyed Karen Alloy’s videos (YouTube user spricket24), which surprises me because I don’t usually like snark, I’ve never so much as cracked a smile for Sarah Silverman. Maybe it’s because Alloy is snarking on my biggest personal peeves. I’m also very impressed with her facial and body language; expressive acting at point-blank range is not an easy task.

As long as we’re on the subject, I will admit to some personal double-bind bias here. If I find a woman to be complaining a lot, and she’s not very attractive, my mind will jump to the “she’s just angry she doesn’t get as much attention as the other girls.” But when an attractive woman is complaining, I usually default to “she’s just spoiled because she gets more attention than the other girls, she doesn’t know how good she has it.” It sounds like a can’t-win setup, but experienced strategists will note that there is a winning move…stop complaining.

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Stop Denying the Alpha-Beta Paradigm

There’s one meme I’ve grown beyond tired of. It goes something like this:

“I don’t believe in this alpha-beta distinction. Does it really matter?”

“This alpha-beta thing is stupid, people are way more complicated than that.”

“Only losers sit around talking about alpha and beta.” (This one is really an anti-intellectualism argument; to quote Bill Cosby, “intellectuals go to school to study what people do naturally.” Talking about it is the point.)

Alpha and beta have been thrown around since the early pickup artist (PUA) and game days so far as I can tell, but my first conception of the alpha-beta dichotomy came from Roissy/Heartiste. In the Chateau, alpha and beta function as social roles on a sliding scale synonymous with one’s attractiveness to women in the area of social dominance. The second conception was Athol Kay’s orthogonal breakdown of alpha and beta as attraction and comfort traits respectively, linked to the dopamine and oxytocin chemical systems, where one can modify their alpha and beta independently as their life and relationship require.

My personal catchall shorthand definition has been that alphas impress themselves upon their environment, and betas react to their environment. Generally speaking this is not just about social ability; alphatude is not necessarily who can beat everyone else up, who has the most money, who has the most power, but it can be any of those things in the proper settings. When we talk about the alpha-beta dichotomy we’re usually talking about social dominance, because that’s the factor that has the most dramatic short-term effect on a woman’s sexual psyche and it’s a factor from which much of a man’s success will flow.

Vox Day has publicized his own Greek letter system involving seven groups, and his concept of a beta is considerably kinder than Roissy’s. I have self-diagnosed as a sigma, for you readers who prefer introverted intellectual types with an indifference to conventional means.

(My forthcoming contribution will be to cast alpha and beta as lifestyle decisions.)

In any event, I’m here to tell you it is absolutely not fake. The strata of social roles is easily observed. Put a group of guys together, from age six to adulthood, it doesn’t really matter the age as long as they’re around the same stage in life…they will immediately and subconsciously arrange themselves in a social hierarchy. Usually some subtle male-on-male fitness testing is involved. Or it might be overt testing where someone tries to steal the other guy’s seat or sack of chips or bruise his dignity. It will become readily apparent who’s in charge, and who is sucking up to whom. This is dependent on the style of everyone involved (lots of betas in a row will fall all over themselves to defer to each other, no let ME buy YOU a beer, while lots of alphas will test strongly and maybe fight) and also changes with surroundings (a smart guy has lots of status in academia and not much at the corner bar). But it’s there. It happens in the playroom, the classroom, the locker room and the board room.

Put an attractive or unattached woman in the crowd, and you’ll see another display – the guys who pursue her versus the guys who hang back, and suckups versus more gamelike strategies.

It really follows lots of other socially-observed phenomena – people drop into hindbrain-driven behavior fairly quickly when they don’t have time to stop and think about it; we as modern humans want to believe we are very rational and measured, when in fact we’re governed 90% of the time by animal instincts we’re much better at observing than controlling. And then our minds make up rational explanations for it to boot. Good economics, good politics and good management are all about leveraging these instincts for a rational good of some sort, not about expecting to change people’s base natures. Philosophies that have instead tried to change or circumvent human nature (like Marxist socialism or open polyamory) have met with a marked lack of widespread success.

As to Vox’s point that two groups is too restrictive, I basically concur that a macro look at the sexual marketplace requires more refinement. But when doing a first-pass analysis of a social experiment (like a pickup or a relationship), alpha vs beta is usually good enough to inform a basic explanation, and that’s usually good enough to motivate a student’s behavior to change.

The point is that once you start subjecting men to tests of their social position (especially the fight for women), all of this breaks down fairly reliably into leaders and followers, instigators and reactors, strong bidders and supplicators. People get subconsciously committed to these frames; we viscerally interpret a man switching roles (such as standing up to a bully, or gaming up when he had once been a tingle-killing chump) as incongruent with his personality. A good reason it’s easier to build your game immediately after moving or leaving school or a job.

COGNITIVE BIASES AND WILLFUL BLINDNESS

If I can do some amateur analysis on those who reject the alpha/beta thing…

I think women are prone to reject the A/B paradigm because as we well know women writ large are not particularly aware of their attraction triggers, and unlike men who can’t stop hearing about how shallow they are with their love of breasts and hips, the media isn’t telling women what they’re really attracted to and whether it’s right or wrong. So they don’t really recognize the male social hierarchy and its role in female attraction – their hindbrain does all the work – and not seeing the male hierarchy without women, they don’t see the stark alpha-beta contrast among men in their own element. Even among women who are making an effort, there’s a lack of understanding to be overcome as to what really constitutes alphatude.

There was a comical exchange at Susan Walsh’s Hooking Up Smart a few months ago where several female regulars went out of their way to tell us how alpha their boyfriends were, and the discussion and details led many of us to think it was a status-flexing exercise and assume that they were conflating some desireable trait like having a nice job, looking good or religious piety with true “alpha” status. There really are a small number of alpha personalities (society can’t survive with too many leaders fighting all the time), and it’s facepalming to hear woman after woman say she wants a guy who “owns the room” or somesuch social dominance marker because those guys are rare and being fought over fiercely by a large number of women, many of whom have shown that when the chips are down they’re ready to bypass monogamy and jump into a soft or hard harem to get those five minutes of alpha.

But it needs to be said, women have different balances of traits they seek in partners. It’s been an item of much discussion around these parts that the typical urban fashioned-up entitled American young woman responds extremely well to super-alpha “asshole game,” and heavily punishes any sign of betatude (like a male desire to get into a relationship). That’s only one type of girl and is easily avoided. A considerable number of women who are unfortunately not easy to find are put off by the highly extroverted, borderline attention-whoring frat guy personality. A portion of girls are sufficiently upset by the prospect of sharing their man (or they just want their own unique product) that a top dog is unpalatable to them. Some women’s hypergamy stretches in other dimensions, like he has to be really tall or make a metric shit-ton of money.

And there are women who really dig the shy sweet beta type, for real. They are also going to say “this alpha-beta thing doesn’t work for me,” and I’m shirley not going to fault anybody who’s dating a guy she’s into. If he’s HER alpha and that gets her hot, then more power to the both of them.

It just gets tiring to hear “I don’t like ‘alphas,’ I just like guys who are real manly men and don’t take any shit from me.” Well, dear, that’s pretty alpha, especially by today’s standards. They’ve restricted their definition to some subset of the type, like preppies or narcissistic sociopaths.

On the other side, I think men are prone to reject the A/B view because it threatens our socially-conditioned view of egalitarianism, and also threatens our very shaky late-term conceptions of manliness and also our socially-conditioned but false ideas about what women “should” be attracted to (including false ideas that women themselves have told us). Alpha traits are associated with visceral masculinity, i.e. strength, dominance, mastery and a healthy self-concept. But society tells us that masculinity is something different, like ponying up cash or not judging a woman’s sexual past, so it’s hard to swallow that yes, women are attracted to physical strength, social dominance sometimes to the point of arrogant rudeness, guys with pipe dreams in interesting but usually-doomed careers (like musicians and writers) and even narcissism and indifference.

We also want to think that various non-alpha traits can be combined to make alphatude, as if we can make up for the lack of intrinsic attractors with a bunch of socially-acceptable alternatives. You see this with some of the “real man” shaming that goes around, like some white-knight shouting that a “a real man is good to people.” It may be desireable, but there’s nothing particularly alpha in that description of a guy. A “good man” can be strong or a good man can be a wimp. A good man is usually attractive if he’s strong…but then he’s covered a key attractor and the “good” is just icing for women who seek that trait.

Finally, men judge men differently than women do, so a guy may say “oh yeah, he’s great, you should totally date him,” while the woman he’s talking to will judge him too low on the social totem pole to get her tingling. (This is analogous to a woman trying to pass her homely friend to a man by telling him “she’s really sweet.”) The male model of teamwork is one where everyone has different ability but everyone has comparable social value. You see this in well-operating sports teams: benchwarmers who are playing their role are just as included in the team activities and rewards as the all-conference quarterback.

So on some level we don’t want to believe that one of us has a better claim to the fruits of his status than the others. We guys want to think we’re swell chums and that we’re all on the same level, but look into a group of men and it becomes fairly obvious who is really on top. Usually that guy will have first pick of women who are in range of the group, sometimes only for the reason he’s been given the first right by the group to approach (the case for me in some of my groups).

Once a man realizes the alpha-beta frame goes a long way toward explaining his romantic past, he gets a lot more receptive to the idea.

 

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