Dissecting the Modern American Male

Win or Woo: Part 1

In the animal kingdom, when a male wants to snag a female, he basically has two options: he can win her or he can woo her.  Interestingly, both of these animalistic impulses have relevance when dealing with The Modern American Male and in this extra special two part series, we will explore how each one affects you.

What do I mean by “winning” the female?  Think about those documentaries on the Discovery Channel that show two wild boars fighting, goring each other in a frantic rage until one surrenders or dies.  What they are really doing is asserting dominance over each other, with the very simple goal that the most dominant one gets to mate with the most females.  In some species he gets to mate with ALL of the females (which must royally suck for all the other males who are forced to be celibate).

This brings up a very interesting question in the female behavior.  Why would they go for this?  They are willingly giving up on monogamy and will be forced to raise their offspring alone.  The reason for this is purely biological and fairly straightforward.  The most dominant male is arguably the strongest and probably has the best survival instincts, which are two highly prized genetic characteristics that females want to transfer to their offspring.

I know what you’re thinking: we aren’t animals.  Guys don’t fight each other to win a girl (well, usually they don’t).  But the important part of the story of the wild boar isn’t the fighting part, it’s the dominance, and this part guys do all of the time.  Remember, it’s not the boar that fights the most that gets the females – it’s the boar who is the most dominant.  Fighting is just a means to an end.

Think about the guys surrounding you and think about all the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which they show dominance over their competition.  Pretty much any hierarchical organization is filled with dominant behavior: politics, work, fraternities, economic classes, etc.  All the time you are surrounded by guys exerting their dominance over other guys in countless different ways.

And why do they do this?  You guessed it, to win the ladies.

So what are you supposed to do with this knowledge?

Up until now we have covered how guys are behaviorally equivalent to wild boars (no surprise there, you are probably saying to yourself), but what about the women in this equation?  For human females, being the strongest and having good survival instincts are not the only characteristics of note.  Things like intelligence (of which 50% comes from genes), humor, or kindness are important as well.  In other words, just because the guy goes to the gym five times a week doesn’t mean that he will be a good mate or a good father.

But – and this is an important but –  every female still has residual evolutionary programming that draws her toward the most dominant male.  And this predisposition can sometimes be a trap, like how the quarterback of the football team is the most desirable male in the school, even though he could be an idiot and a bad boyfriend.

To summarize, be on the lookout for dominant male behavior.  My guess is that you will find it practically everywhere.  But more importantly, be careful of the dominance trap.  Women will always find dominant men attractive, it’s engrained in evolution, but don’t let it blind you to the deeper qualities that are necessary for a good relationship.


In the coming weeks I will post up Part 2!

Fighting Animal photo via .

The title of this post comes from a chapter in the fascinating book by Matt Ridley called The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

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