The power of harmlessness

Male culture is, even in this enlightened age, highly hierarchical. It’s easy to miss, because it’s not like every male group of friends had uniforms and epaulets. The hierarchy is, amongst peers, entirely informal.

But it is also extremely strong, and that means that nearly all men rapidly internalize the idea that they have to always be ready for a challenge, and that in order to protect their spot in the pecking order, they have to project a certain amount of menace. There has to to be those who are afraid to fuck with you unless you are at the very bottom.

Few men at the bottom are there by choice.

In fact, these are most likely the harmless men. The men who, for whatever reason, lack enough of the urge and the machismo of the male hierarchy in order to be able to (or even want to) intimidate anybody. They want to be liked, or left alone.

So they attract bullies. Bullies tend to be very invested in the hierarchy, and the harmless man puzzles them. They can’t understand even the possibility of someone opting out of the hierarchy. They will be drawn to the harmless man and pester them until they do something the bully can understand, namely fight back.

(That is, of course, a lab-pure example. Physics in a vacuum. The real world has many more variables, including gender role enforcement and recreational sadism. )

In fact, such is the confusion in the mind of the hierarchical bully that the harmless man’s attempts to withdraw from the hierarchy can feel, to the bully, like a kind of rejection. It is processed as if the bully had offered to shake the harmless man’s hand, and the harmless man had, instead, pulled away from the bully and ignored him.

Switching genders, women also enforce male hierarchy. They do so by evaluating men, at least partly, on that selfsame ability to produce a “don’t fuck with me” vibe. This leads them in the direction of men who seem like they could protect a woman from harm, usually in the form of other men who might be looking to take “their” woman.

Luckily for the harmless man, there is his female half, the gentle woman. The gentle woman does not like anything rough, brutish, or frightening, and she is drawn to the harmless man’s gentleness, kindness, and above all, how nonthreatening he is.

And that is where the harmless man shines. He is nonthreatening, and hence to some women, very approachable. And this approachability has benefits far beyond merely attracting the gentle woman.

In every man’s life, there will come times when dropping their guard and being gentle and harmless are not just advantageous but absolutely necessary. The testosterone driven alpha stud might very well be good at protecting a woman from harm, and be virile enough to give you strong babies, but might well be just as aggressive and challenging to his own children.

And who wants a father you can’t leave alone with the kids?

And what about how he treats you in between battles? The attitudes and behaviours that make him a prime cut warrior will lead him to be rough, even brutal, at home if he has no “off switch”.

From this heteronormative (the GLBT version of this phenomenon is beyond me at the moment) template, we can see that the ideal man according to the baseline of female desire would be a man who is an alpha dog outside the home and a sweet and gentle lapdog when inside the home.

This is, of course, the equivalent of the male-oriented female ideal of “a virgin in public and a whore in bed. ”

Nature is not usually so discrete, however. Not only does testosterone lack an off switch, the modern man is stuck with the dilemma of trying to both retain enough male power to make his woman feel safe and to retain her respect while at the same time reassuring her that he is no threat to her or the kids and is, in fact, a very good parent too.

The harmless man oversolves one half of the equation. He gives off all the signals of being a good and gentle, patient parent who will be safe to leave with the kid. But can he protect the home?

The aggressive man oversolves the other half. He definitely seems like he is the biggest and strongest and could take on all comers. But is he safe?

In this, the harmless man has the advantage, in that there is very little home protecting or wife earning to be done in the modern world. There is, however, a lot of caring and tenderness needed.

But sadly, the human sexual instinct has not caught up with that. Like with food, our brains are knocked around by supra-normal stimuli. In this case, it takes the form of the men and women we see in the media. Whether it’s the zero body fat Photoshopped supermodel with the huge tits or the equally Photoshopped mountain of meat with a killer smile, our sense of reasonable expectations is distorted, and what we imagine to be the “average” person is skewed by the adding of so many high potency sexually stimulating people.

And all the while, our basic human sexual programming tells us to go with the most sexually stimulating partner, not the one who is actually the most compatible or the best breeding partner.

So when people are young and full of hormones, they will let their gametes do the talking and sleep around with the high stimulus people, and for some people, the lesson that sex is no basis for a relationship takes a long time to sink in.

But the harmless man has the ultimate trump card in that once the hormones die down and the women become capable of thinking long term, they are the ones the women will turn to for long term romance and possible child-rearing.

Mot all the women, of course.

Just the ones worth keeping.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

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