Monday, March 16, 2009

Masculinity, Machos and True Men

There are basically two sorts of alpha males. There are males who are physically so strong and hyper-aggressive, they become sort of like dictators. ... And then there’s a completely different situation, where you have males who are much smaller than the other males, but who are nevertheless the alpha males, because they are diplomatic, and they know how to make friends.
[Frans De Waal]

Women are attracted to human alpha males.

All the why "nice guys sleep alone" and "women like jerks" discussions boil down to this simple biological fact. The guy with the highest social status is seen by the majority of women as the most desirable man.

Humans are primates. And primate females prefer to mate with alpha males. Biology determines our behavior when it comes to sex in the same way as it determines us to breathe, sleep and eat. And just like we prefer sweet and fatty food over any high-fiber, low fat, low carb diet even if we know it harms our well being, women prefer dominant men even if they are less "healthy" to their emotional well being.

If (sexual) success with women is equal to alpha status, why not try to get there?

Most men come to this conclusion sooner or later in their lives. In a way, the masculine strive for career, money, power and prestige is nothing bu the eternal attempt of males to achieve the social status their genes "demand" (in order to get passed on to the next generation).

But what defines alpha status?

Is it the Porsche? Being a CEO? Or being macho-masculine, all muscles and such?

The answer is more simple and complicated and the same time.

Alpha status is defined as the highest achievable social status. As we all know, someone with a high income may not be well respected, or even laughed at and hence devoid of high social status. The same is true for meat packets and "guidos" in sports cars.

Social status often, but not always correlates with "social class" and status symbols. And primate females have been programmed to detect true social status during a period of time where we climbed trees instead of driving cars.

The cues that women use are more subtle (f.ex. body language, actual power displays, displayed and communicated confidence etc.) and holistic (i.e. they do not just use one cue - they integrate all cues they can get from a man - from his posture to his facebook page).

Women are experts at discovering "fake alphas", because men have always tried to mimic the studs who go free poon in order to get some, too. If a woman is unsure about her own assessment of a man's status, she will use the assessment of other people (including his own!), and start to test him mercilessly. Remarks and questions designed to get the guy in an uncomfortable position are the best tool in the "anti-fake alpha" defense that defines female flirting.

After attending the Neil Strauss booksiging this week, I realized that his book on pickup ("The Game") might have done more damage than good to many men who strive to get better with women. They did understand that they need to work on their alpha status (display), yet they confuse alpha males with machos, CEOs or rich bunks.

The result is the type of "creeper" (as one of the few women in the audience - a petite Asian who I jumped ahead of while waiting in line - put it, who did not even get approached by anyone) who became synonymous of the seduction (PUA) community. I know, I am not the first one to point this out, but just preaching against being creepy doesn't do the trick. The problem is that there is a wide spread misconception about what defines an alpha male, and was long as this doesn't get rectified, women will still go home with naturals (and the few who realized the truth) only.

Yes, machos and CEOs can be alpha. But so can the waiter at the Greek restaurant next door. What defines alpha status is how this guy is seen by other people.

Physical dominance and aggressive behavior are certainly masculine traits (and attractive to wmen), but so is the man who uses his brain to gain status and power. The quote at the top of this post is from one of the leading primatologists of these days, and it refers to chimpanzees. Even our closest relatives know obnoxious alpha males and diplomatic rulers. Both kinds of males achieve the same status, yet they use different means and achieve different effect.

David Deida might be one of the few who has realized that men often go awry in their search for masculinity and "alpha-ness". He thinks that we take on additional "shells" of fake masculinity when we realize an overly feminine side to us, instead of stripping away what has been put upon us.

You can see men like this wherever you look - pathetic attempts of being more aggressive than they actually are, ridiculous attempts of talking in a deep voice or gaining more muscle where genes set natural limits. Women see right through these pseudo displays of confidence to the insecure core of a man without an overwhelming option of dripping pussy at his fingertips. A true alpha does not need to supplicate to a woman like that (i.e. to change his ways and life in order to impress or please them).

Neal Strauss: Here is your autograph. (looking at me and the petite Asian behind me) Did you guys come together?
Me: Not yet. (winking at her)
Her: (giggling)
Me: Looks like we might leave together, though.
Her: (looking back to the other guys in line, then looking back at Neal) He's sooooo baaaaad. (giggling)

Thanks, creepers. That one was all too easy.

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