[[…continuing what was started in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1)…]]
Anybody remember those first school dances you went to? The boys lined up on one wall, the girls on the other? And remember that the boys gathered in groups of maybe 2-3 and the girls in groups of 5 or more?
What you’re observing is a proto-typical gender behavior bias. That’s a 25¢ way of saying men and women behave differently. Kind of like noticing that wolves go after the most vulnerable member of a herd or that the bull elk challenges all competitors to his harem. It’s all obvious when you know what you’re looking at.
For example, somewhere up around the 4m45s mark in my iMedia presentation on Gender Specific Marketing Discoveries, I comment on the fact that men sat singularly or in groups of 1-3 on one side of the room and the women clustered in noticeably larger groups on the other side of the room. A solitary male is the usual case with males over 30 yo (they tend to have more confidence whether they should or not).
[[you can hear the podcast here. They screw up my name. That’s why I now tell people my last name is pronounced Smith]]
What it all comes down to sex on the beach.
Humans, despite what some might like to think, carry in their genes all the behaviors that helped us climb from the primordial muck to where we are today. Everything that worked is in there. One of the things that worked for males was separating themselves from other males so that females could individualize them, get a better look at them, could evaluate them better, get a good fix on their potentials as mates and providers.
In short, males establish territories. Those nature documentaries about seals on the beach have it correct. It’s amusing to watch several million years of evolutionary wiring go into conflict with a few thousand years of human civilization, especially when you recognize that much of what we call “civilization” is designed to deal with all that nasty evolutionary wiring.
Anthropologists recognize ceremonies and rituals. The ceremonies rarely change because they define us as a species. The rituals constantly change because they define us as a group, a tribe, a family, a religion, a sect, a nationality, a people.
You’ve probably heard the term “mating ritual”. That first, awkward school dance is a mating ritual. It’s purpose is for kids to have fun, yes, and also to have them learn how to evaluate members of the opposite sex, also known as partner selection and is a mating ritual in disguise. That school dance is an example of socially acceptable behavior meeting evolutionary wiring big time. Another example of the difference between ceremony and ritual is marriage. The ritual of marriage varies from culture to culture but the ceremony of marriage — the “this-person-that-person” thing — is pretty well established in our species.
What’s more interesting is observing the individuals who’ve made accommodations so that their evolutionary wiring and social training work hand in hand, or don’t.
For example, an adult male who always seeks the company of his male peers probably won’t be a good choice for mate or provider. An adult male who is comfortable by himself and will spend time with male peers is better. An adult male who can be by himself in a social setting (a bar, a dance, a beach), who intentionally catches your eye without intruding on what you’re doing and quickly (but graciously) acknowledges your interest or lack thereof? Learn his name. He’s probably worth it.
Men, what about women who traverse social training and evolutionary wiring? Interestingly enough the same rules apply. If they’re comfortable with themselves, recognize social signals as they are intended and don’t dispute them, ask for their name. Talk and do remember to listen. They probably have a lot to tell you.