Nurse Baker (breaking off their kiss, as if she’s suddenly remembered): I’m engaged to a pilot!
Hawkeye: So am I. I just hope it’s not the same one.
Got passed on the road yesterday by a pick-up with one of those evil pissing Calvin decals on the rear window. (I’ve often wondered why Bill Watterson hasn’t sued. Maybe he gets royalties.) It was a little pickup, a kind I don’t see much anymore. Seems no one drives anything smaller than a F-150 these days. I saw a 350 recently. Thing was as big as a tank. The driver was a very small woman. I didn’t see the driver of the truck that passed me. Compared to what I’m used to, and especially compared to my memory of the 350, the pick-up looked like a toy. The driver was aware of this. I know this because he, and as you’ll see it was almost certainly a he, had another decal in his rear window that called the truck a toy. It said:
MY OTHER TOY HAS TITS
I’ll bet it does. And I’ll bet it really is a toy and it’s inflatable.
Now there’s a babe magnet. With the Calvin decal? It’s like Sam Malone’s Corvette. Women see that in a parking lot and they say to themselves, “Well, I know who I’m having breakfast with tomorrow!”
Why do I think this guy would be scared silly at the prospect of having breakfast with a real live woman?
Who taught him that the way to attract persons of the female persuasion is to offend as many of them as he can?
Who taught so many American men that the best and only pickup line they need is some variation of “Me want you. Hur-hur.”?
Maybe they pick it up when they’re fourteen from beer commercials which are either aimed at guys like the driver of the toy pick-up truck or make fun of guys like him while pretending to be aimed at them. By the way, have you noticed how fear of women is a theme of the second type of ads? I don’t think the guys being made fun of notice.
Been a long time, but I don’t remember this “technique” ever working back in my salad days. I remember watching in amusement as other guys tried it again and again and then I would shake my head in bewilderment when they whined about getting shot down. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t obvious to them why basically grunting like cavemen and beating on their chests failed to charm.
Not that I was a young Sam Malone or Hawkeye Pierce myself, although I had aspirations. It was just that somewhere along the way I had learned that it was helpful if you actually talked to a girl first---I should say talked with---before inviting her to breakfast.
Frasier: Let’s face it, everybody. In America, in the 1990s, there are no heroes anymore.
Sam (bursting in the door): Hey, guys! I’d like you to meet my date.
Norm, Cliff, Frasier, and the gang (chanting): Sam-my! Sam-my!
I’ve never been taken with evolutionary psychology as a method for explaining all human behavior, but I did develop an evolutionary theory for what those guys were doing, even if they weren’t aware it. The purpose of the grunting and chest beating, I theorized, wasn’t to charm females of the species. It was to scare off other males. Once the competition was driven away, then the horny homonid could devote his attention and his energy towards charming a potential mate and convincing her that he was a worthy breakfast companion. I just figured that these guys hadn’t learned the second step or that there was a second step.
But the more time I spent in the field observing their behavior, the more I began to doubt my theory. I began to think that the reason they hadn’t learned about the next step was that there wasn’t supposed to be a next step. Charming females wasn’t the point. Getting invited to breakfast wasn’t the point. Driving off competition from other males wasn’t the point, in fact, the point was almost the opposite.
The point, my theory had it, was to show other males that you weren’t competition for them.
These guys weren’t trying to attract girls. They were trying to make themselves attractive to other guys. Not as potential mates. As potential members of the pack.
The object was for the beta males to demonstrate to the alpha male that they would support and cheer on the top dog but that they didn’t have any ambition to challenging the top dog themselves.
To put it in another, less pseudo-scientific way. These guys didn’t want to be Sam Malone. They already knew they weren’t and never would be. They were Norms and Cliffs who desperately needed Sammy to like them and let them be part of his gang because they knew they were helpless on their own.
Or, to take a more literary approach. In Romeo and Juliet: Mercutio is often assumed to be gay because of his expressed contempt for Romeo’s infatuations, first with (the unseen) Rosalind and then with Juliet. And for all I know or care maybe he is gay. But it’s far more important that he’s the alpha male of the gang whose only other members we see are Romeo and Benvolio but that probably includes a bunch of other young Veronese bullyboys and swells. As top dog, Mercutio would naturally try to discourage his gang from pursuing any relationships outside the pack but he would be especially suspicious and jealous of any of the other’s getting involved with women, either because that would threaten the cohesion of the pack---the poor smitten sot might wander off or his romantic and erotic success might incite jealousy among the others---or, since a perk of being the alpha male is first choice among potential mates, Romeo might represent a challenge to his alpha maleness.
It’s to Mercutio’s credit that when he realizes Romeo is seriously in love with Juliet he actually begins to enjoy his company more and treat him with more respect. He starts to see Romeo as his equal and likes that.
Unfortunately for everyone in the play, a challenge to Mercutio’s place as top dog comes along that he can’t tolerate or adapt to.
And it comes from a cat.
At any rate, it seemed to me, and seemed strange to me, that there were a lot of guys for whom it was more important to show off to other guys than share breakfast with a girl. And it still seems strange to me. I don’t know if it’s evolutionary, cultural, or economic, but for some reason the point of gestures like “My Other Toy Has Tits”---and there are all kinds of variations of that, most of them actual gestures---is to fit in among other guys. Both types of beer commercials, the ones that take these guys’ lusts seriously and the ones that make fun of them, recognize that the real point isn’t to get laid but to share a beer with the guys and both recognize that women are other to that experience. Women are either accessories to the beer sharing experience or a threat to it.
In the second type of ad it’s often implied that the guys, either the ones in the ads or the ones watching at home, are relieved when they’re shot down. I don’t know if this has to do with performance anxiety or fear that success would lead to their being driven from the pack.
It didn’t make sense to me that there were guys who preferred the beer-drinking company of other guys to breakfast with a girl. It still doesn’t. And I can’t help thinking that guys like the driver of that pick-up want to learn.
If they do, my first lesson would be this.
One semester back in college I had an idiot roommate who decorated the wall above his bed with centerfolds from Hustler. Not Playboy. Not even Penthouse. Hustler!
The wall above my bed was decorated with New Yorker covers and cartoons.
Yeah, I was a pretentious little snot back then.
But guess which one of us had more company for breakfast.
For the record. I do not mean any disrespect to pick-up trucks of any size or to their drivers. I still want a pick-up truck of my own.