In case you think that only American researchers are competing for the title of Professor Obvious, we've rustled up a study from the British Journal of Psychology, a beach read that's stacked neatly, to the best of our knowledge, on thousands of insomniacs' nightstands throughout the United Kingdom. What the authors of this paper, "Men behaving nicely: Public goods as peacock tails," claim to have discovered is summarized in the first sentence of the abstract:
Insights from sexual selection and costly signalling theory suggest that competition for females underlies men's public good contributions.
We're not entirely caught up with the rest of our class in costly signalling theory. Apparently, the male peacock's brilliant tail is one example -- he whips it out only when a female is nearby, and the quality of that display is a reliable signal of his fitness to give her peachicks.
But you could replace a few noun phrases in the premise, Mad Lib-style, and it would be our mom's facts-of-life talk: "Insights from everything worth knowing suggest that competition for females underlies men's every waking moment." As we shared last week, in all innocence, evidence is mounting that heterosexual guys do stuff not just to meet as many women as possible when they're single and to leave a good impression on their favorites but also, eventually, to keep their trophy significant others happy, nearby, and ideally conceiving their children.
Those readers who complained that the Michigan oral-sex study was oversimplified ("pathetic" and "uncontrolled" were among the words used) will be pleased, we're sure, that this one is a hefty 11 pages and addresses some of the gaping holes in game theory. Simply put, if a man thinks an attractive woman is watching, he'll behave with more generosity and altruism (contributing, in this experiment, to a fund that will benefit others in the future) than if he sees no chance to impress a hottie.
The behavior of the women in the study wasn't affected by who they thought was watching. It's a relaxing way to go through the day, we don't mind telling you.
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It's Mother Nature, not us or the nerds in white coats, who makes the rules, you guys. And if women don't work as hard at mate-retention because both our brains and our hormones tell us we don't have to, why hold that natural advantage against us personally? We are saddled with a few other chores, including partners who are constantly telling us about the wonderful things they did when we weren't looking.
Meanwhile, every moment you spend talking to researchers is a moment you could be engaging in a behavior that, okay, might not prevent your partner from cheating, but can you really take that risk? When you see someone with a clipboard, turn around and run fast and run far.
Run home and perform cunnilingus or, if no one's there, rescue babies from a burning building or, if no buildings happen to be on fire, vacuum or run a load of towels. Or make dinner. (Our favorite? Reservations. And tip generously.) You don't have to point it out later. We'll notice. We notice everything, fuckers. Including that your inner life is just as complex and annoying as women's -- it's just all under your radar.