Part four in a series of eight posts written back in April of 2012 during and after a trip to Thailand to teach advanced first aid.
There is a fantasy that most SF guys have in which they are the stars of the show. They are confident, burly, suave sex-machines, oozing pure testosterone from every pore, deadly to women. The SF guy walks into a party, or a bar, or a classroom full of female students, and they all instantly want him. All he needs to do is lay down some of the never fail Special Forces charisma and she will be swooning in his arms. Then it’s off to the nearest room with a convenient horizontal surface, for a night he will probably not remember, and she will obviously never forget.
Of course this fantasy is not explicit (most of the time). I make it that way by describing it, but the reality is less a fantasy in the technical sense, than a general attitude. It shapes the way we treat women (I say “we” on purpose, because I acknowledge I am not immune from this fantasy). You see it in the tone of voice, the casually demeaning attitude, the mocking insults that are supposed to be accepted as backhanded compliments, simply because such a man deigned to notice her. Most of all it is evident in the dismissive “You’re no fun,” throwing off any girl who doesn’t follow the program. It is all in the attitude, which we call “Confidence,” or an “Alpha Male personality,” which is supposed to be irresistible to women. I have been examining this attitude, both in my peers and in myself and I have discovered two things about it. First, it has no basis in reality. Second, it comes from emptiness.
When I say that it has no basis in reality, I mean that it is a false view of women. That is not how real women behave. The fantasy of “irresistibility” is very powerful to both sexes, if I may be allowed to extrapolate from the covers of Cosmopolitan Magazine and other women’s magazines in supermarket checkouts. Both men and women are somewhat attracted to the idea of becoming “irresistible” to the opposite sex, but the fantasy of an “irresistible” man specifically is powerful to both sexes, I would say; more so than the irresistible woman, it seems. I don’t know many men who would really be interested in a woman who was truly irresistible. Most men would consider it incredibly damaging to their sense of manhood to be swept of their feet, while I know hardly any women who don’t desire to be swept away on some level. The irresistible man, therefore, is a powerful concept to both sexes. Men want to be him. Women want to be swept off their feet by him (if women’s novels and chick flicks are any indication.) But the fantasy has no basis in reality. Probably less than one man in a thousand has actually had the experience of walking into a room and automatically turning the heads of every woman in the place, and then having his pick of them sexually. Turn heads? Yes. Definitely possible. Sleep with them? Sorry, I just don’t buy it. That’s not how the vast majority of real women operate. Usually it is going to take at least some effort to win her favor, regardless of what the nature of that favor may be.
Yet the fantasy persists, and we men act as if we had that experience of magic sexual influence every day of our lives for years. We have never experienced it, yet we act as if we did. Hmm… Curious. And yet there is something familiar about the fantasy…
Of course! James Bond. Captain Kirk. Brad Pitt. That’s how women behave around them. They surrender to them with almost boring (yet Oh so enticing) predictability, especially Kirk. He only had forty-five minutes to get the babe, and he usually had her about half way through the episode. Then of course there are the pornos. That’s exactly how the girl in pornography behaves. She takes one look at the studly male character and that is all it takes. She instantly exists for no other purpose than to make all his dreams come true.
I have no research to back this up, but I’m willing to posit a direct causal relationship between media portrayals of female sexuality and the warped view of it that most men take for granted. We stick a male mind inside a female body, and call the result the norm. Any woman who doesn’t match up to that norm? Well, we have plenty of sneering names for her.