Before I talk about some recent news reports, let me relate a story from my past that came to mind.
I spent my last two school years in a town different from where I had grown up, having left behind the kids I grew up with, and making a bunch of new friends. We were the nerds, the unpopular crowd; not because we had done anything particularly antisocial, more because we had other interests than working to acquire popularity. We were a motley bunch, with different attitudes, and guys coming and going.
One Monday morning, halfway through the last year, one of the “irregulars” called us together during the first break to relate some important news: he had gotten laid on the previous weekend. Details followed.
The reaction from the rest of us was hardly what he was expecting. Perhaps he had seen one or more “frat house” movies such as Porky’s, where horny students swapped war stories and made complicated plans to further their exploits, and thought that was reality. Most of the guys were indifferent, but I remember getting rather annoyed, asking “why are you telling us this” and “isn’t that supposed to be private”?
This was dismissed as jealousy on my part, but the experience he described hardly inspired envy. I considered telling the guys about my own experiences, from before I moved to that town, before I met them, but that would have been lowering myself to that level. It’s enough to say that I was cured of any romantic expectations by that time.
I did wonder about my reaction, though, and why I wasn’t happier for the other guy, regardless. I think family had something to do with it, having seen, first-hand, the damage caused by indulging in sex too young. By that time I was either an uncle already, or soon to be; I had also seen how passion led to rash decisions, and chronic problems that ruined whole families. At the time, however, I did not know what was wrong in such detail, and experienced only an acute unease. “What is wrong with me? Why don’t I get this. Why do people act so stupidly out of lust? Am I low on testosterone?”
The hormones explanation was the best I could come up with, and while I didn’t believe it fully, I could use it to laugh off questions such as “why don’t you have a girlfriend?” or “are you queer?” (No.) By the time I finished that final school year I had seen a few more unwanted pregnancies, and heard of some abuse: the “cherry on top” was doing some informal counselling for a female friend of ours who was pregnant with an additional complication: the father was a teacher at our school.
After that I just went to work, and by the time my parents got divorced, just over a year later, I had really had enough of dysfunctional families, horny teenagers, and irrational decisions, so I concentrated on my work, living in my company’s bachelor quarters. On my rare visits to bars and other social gatherings, I watched women responding to the guys who wouldn’t take no for an answer, who would chase them, cajole them, do everything short of clubbing them over the head and dragging them out by their hair. I didn’t care: I was the guy you always find “in the kitchen at parties”, cleaner-upper of the mess, the good listener, the shoulder to cry on. I was “sitting out the game”, since I had seen the prize and didn’t want it, and was happy to have avoided a “trophy”.
It wasn’t until much later, after more education, experience and observation, that I could put my concerns in to words. A throwaway remark I made, in the pub, somehow stuck with me: “guys who chase women aggressively are aggressive in general”. That was my problem: I wasn’t “aggressive” enough. Hormones again, or do I just think too much before I act? The correlation is positive, in my observations: I wish women were more discriminating, and less susceptible to aggressive approaches, because I have come away with the strong opinion that the guys who are more forceful in “hitting on you” – a worrying term on its own – are the guys more likely to use force against you.
This brings me to the news, about some disgraceful behaviour last week, see BBC News: crowds of horny men in Cairo, chasing women in the streets and ripping their clothes off. There is no suggestion that these were women were scantily-clad Westerners, so the Muslim clerics can’t use that excuse, like the Australian Imam who described women as “uncovered meat” last week.
This ties in to a wider theme I have touched on here before; in societies that value sons over daughters, the result is a a harder life for men, because of the competition for women. According to the article, many Egyptian men can not afford to marry, such is the effect of population pressures in Egypt’s limited arable land and urban area. Their demographic problems pale in comparison with those in China or India, but aggression is one result.
It’s Evolution, Baby: aggression gets you laid, you get to be a father, and pass your genes on to posterity. The most effective procreators are the most aggressive, the men not content to father a few children with a single woman, but who are pushy enough to spread their seed far and wide. The pointless violence and thrill-seeking seem to be mere side effects in the long term. In a recent article by “Fred” this tendency is bemoaned, but that is missing the point: sex is the overriding concern of young men and old Mother Nature alike.
Me? I’m not prepared to accept the side effects of sexual aggression on my part, so I expect to remain a childless bachelor. Just as well: if the likely futures of this world are overcrowding and violence, idiocracy and devolution, I wouldn’t wish them on any child of mine.