Why Guys Act Macho.
One recent morning I was driving in Miami on Interstate 95, which should
have a sign that says:
HIGH TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
NEXT 15 MILES
In the left lane, one behind the other, were two well-dressed middle-aged
men, both driving luxury telephone-equipped German automobiles. They looked
like responsible business executives, probably named Roger, with good jobs and
nice families and male pattern baldness, the kind of guys whose most violent
physical activity, on an average day, is stapling. They were driving
normally, except that the guy in front, Roger One, was thoughtlessly going
only about 65 miles an hour, which in Miami is the speed limit normally
observed inside car washes. So Roger Two pulled up behind until the two cars
were approximately one electron apart, and honked his horn.
Of course Roger One was not about to stand for THAT. You let a guy honk
at you, and you are basically admitting that he has a bigger stapler. So
Roger One stomped on his brakes, forcing Roger Two to swerve onto the
shoulder, where, showing amazing presence of mind in an emergency, he was able
to make obscene gestures WITH BOTH HANDS.
At this point both Rogers accelerated to approximately 147 miles per hour
and began weaving violently from lane to lane through dense rush-hour traffic,
each risking numerous lives in an effort to get in front of the other,
screaming and getting spit all over their walnut dashboards. I quickly lost
sight of them, but I bet neither one backed down. Their co-workers probably
wondered what happened to them. "Where the heck is Roger?" they probably said
later that morning, unaware that, even as they spoke, the dueling Rogers,
still only inches apart, were approaching the Canadian border.
This is not unusual guy behavior. One time in a Washington, D.C., traffic
jam I saw two guys, also driving nice cars, reach a point where their lanes
were supposed to merge. But neither one would yield, so they very slowly --
we are talking maybe one mile per hour -- DROVE INTO EACH OTHER.
Other examples of pointlessly destructive or hurtful macho guy behavior
Why do guys do these things? One possible explanation is that they
believe women are impressed. In fact, however, most women have the opposite
reaction to macho behavior. You rarely hear women say things like, "Norm,
when that vending machine failed to give you a Three Musketeers bar and you
punched it so hard that you broke your hand and we had to go to the hospital
instead of to my best friend's daughter's wedding, I became so filled with
lust for you that I nearly tore off all my clothes right there in the
emergency room." No, women are far more likely to say: "Norm, you have the
brains of an Odor Eater."
- Guys at sporting events getting into shoving matches and occasionally
sustaining fatal heart attacks over such issues as who was next in line for
- Guys on the street making mouth noises at women.
- Foreign Policy.
But the real explanation for macho behavior is not that guys are stupid.
The real explanation is that because of complex and subtle hormone-based
chemical reactions occurring in their brains, guys frequently ACT stupid.
This is true throughout the animal kingdom, where you have examples such as
male elks, who, instead of simply flipping a coin, will bang their heads
against each other for hours to see who gets to mate with the female elk, who
is on the sidelines, filing her nails and wondering how she ever got hooked up
with such a moron species, until eventually she gets bored and wanders off to
bed. Meanwhile the guy elks keep banging into each other until one of them
finally "wins," although at this point his brain, which was not exactly a
steel trap to begin with, is so badly damaged that, in his confusion, he will
mate with the first object he encounters, including shrubbery, which is why
you see so few baby elk around.
Another example of macho animal behavior is guy dogs, who are so dumb they
make elks look like Rhodes scholars. Every male dog firmly believes that if
he makes weewee in enough places, he will be declared Dominant Male Dog Of The
Entire Earth and receive a plaque plus valuable dog prizes, such as a bag of
chicken heads. Of course since there are several billion dogs in the
competition, everybody is extremely busy trying to stay ahead of everybody
else. One time I took a hike on a mountain with two male dogs named Rubio and
Moo Shu. Every three minutes Rubio would carefully select a spot and
establish his dominance over it; then Moo Shu would come sprinting from as far
as a mile away so that, despite having the entire mountain to choose from, he
could establish HIS dominance over the same four square inches previously
dominated by Rubio, who by now was several hundred yards away, dominating a
new spot, which Moo Shu would then frantically sprint toward, and so on all
day long, with each dog absolutely convinced that he was the Baddest Hombre on
the planet. Ha ha! At least we human males don't do THAT. We don't need to.
We have tanks.
(C) 1991 THE MIAMI HERALD