Wednesday, January 15, 2003

How To Become An Alpha Male, Lesson 6: Alpha Males Have Things

I have an argument with my 7-year-old son nearly every school morning, without fail, at about 3 minutes before the bus is about to arrive and we have tear out of the house. He's dressed, he has his coat on, he has his backpack full of everything I figure he needs for the day. But no. We stop dead in our tracks with NO TIME to waste,he insists he must take something to school to "share." This sharing routine is about to kill me. We miss the bus over it on a regular basis. Or we have screaming matches for all the neighbors to hear as we rush to catch the bus, him dragging a heavy yellow metal bulldozer to take to school I beg him, "please, if you need to take something to school to share, put it in your bag first thing in the morning, or even better, how about the night before?" That never happens. So there is something absolutely drop-dead important about having a thing to take to school. "Sharing" has replaced "Show and Tell" and I miss what the heck the nuance of language is about, but it's some wacky political correctness to keep the kids from "Showing Off and Telling" I think.

The point is, even at seven years old, my son has figured out a basic rule of Alpha Malehood -- Alpha Males Have Things. They have cool things to show to girls. They have Hot Wheels, or candy bars, or GI Joes or Pokemon cards they drag around with them to show girls. Later when they grow up, the Hot Wheels turn into real wheels, the candy bars are dinner at a fancy restaurant in town and the GI Joes and Pokemon cards are any variety of cool things women want to look at, including beach houses on the Cape, trophys from tennis games, mooseheads in cabins, or even your classic girl-getter, etchings. They have things and know how to say, "Hey, you've got to come over and see my _______. (fill in the blank with WHATEVER! )

The ancient joke about "would you like to come up and see my etchings" is based on this fact. It's always good to have things to show girls. If you can lure them into your room, apartment, house, mansion, castle or cave to look at something -- guess what -- they are standing there next to you looking at something. With any luck and a little sleight of hand, you can get them to stop looking at the thing you invited them to look at and LOOK AT YOU. And then, if they look at you and they like what they see, and you have any shred of Alpha Male instinct, and some good Brazilian background music by Joao Gilberto, or Barry White will do as well, you might actually get them to look at a thing that you have, that they don't have. They may tell you otherwise, but most of them want to look at your thing.

So I always think of some early Alpha Male caveman trying to come up with some THING to show his Wilma Flintstone counterpart. He probably tried a lot of things that didn't work, like a tuft of grass -- boring, boring, boring -- or some water. A little more interesting but no great shakes. So then, at his wit's end, he looks over and she's at the door of the cave watching Eohippus gallop by (the dawn horse, of course) and he thinks, "Well, shit! Here I am showing her a handful of water and she wants to look that pathetic Eohippus. How the hell am I supposed to get her over here to stand next me, so I can smell her and she can smell me, and then we can fuck, when all she wants to do is look at that stupid animal?!"

It hits him out of the blue and he grabs some old charcoal from last night.s meat roasting fire and draws a pretty lousy picture of a running horse on the cave wall. And then he's got a pointy stick to show her -- now that's a cool thing -- and a picture. Now he's getting somewhere. And she comes over to see the thing he made. And she likes it and likes the fact that he noticed she was watching the horse out the cave door and understood that he could please her by drawing the horse for her. Maybe, she reasons, as cavewomen were rather savvy I must say, maybe he could please me in other ways. Hell, she thinks, maybe he'd show me that other thing of his. So she stops looking at his etching and turns to look at him ... (and get ready kids, since the two of them are about to start history as we know it).. and she smiles at him and one thing leads to another.