Many modern women will object to having their mate choices reduced to the pea-brained level of a bird, but have a look at the data. The researchers devised a list of 101 pairs of behaviors in a mock dating service in which each question paired a higher-risk option with a lower-risk choice. For example: Do you prefer a person who enjoys canoeing vs. white water kayaking? The choices included many more subtle risks, such as whether one prefers hot or mild hot sauce. The questionnaire was given to both men and women, and what the results showed is that women greatly preferred guys who engaged in the higher risk behaviors. Guys, in contrast, did not show any preference for women based on their risk-taking profile.
But here’s the really cleaver part. Half of the paired questions dealt with the sort of risks that human beings would have faced thousands of years ago, and the other half dealt with modern risks, such as driving while talking on a cell phone. Neither guys nor gals cared a whit about modern risks in selecting first dates; in fact, these modern risks were likely to be viewed as unattractive and foolish.
Females could care less about a guy who enjoys sticking forks in toasters. There was no electricity in the Stone Age. The risk-taking behaviors women prefer are the ones that deal with overcoming gravity, dealing with wild beasts, crossing water, being indifferent to nasty or dangerous foods, and engaging in human conflict. These are what the research team calls “hunter/gatherer risks,” the kind of risks our cave-man ancestors would have had to deal with. Modern risks, like playing with electricity, fooling with deadly chemicals, taking risks of identity theft, or driving without a seatbelt, did not impress the ladies one bit.
This post is not about the song, it’s about values and relationships.
Pandering is a natural trap for men because we find joy and meaning in serving women. The drive to impress is quite literally imprinted on male DNA. But there’s a fine line between living-to-serve and living-in-fear-of-disapproval. Men must be willing to say to women, I will walk to the ends of the earth if it brings you happiness. I will adopt new behaviors if it eases your burden and feeds our love. But I cannot relinquish my masculinity or my purpose.
Every man needs to understand his own values, and those values must drive his behavior. It’s not for me to say what a man’s values should be, but only that he must possess and protect them if he hopes to succeed in relationships.
Values are the intangibles that matter most to each of us, be they parenting, education, or any other pursuit that makes life worth living. Some measure of shared values is absolutely critical to long-term romantic success.
To find your values, start with a list then prune down the list. Make multiple passes. Remember that it’s not about finding what you value. Chances are, you value a lot of the items on the list. It’s about finding what you value most. You need to know your top most values so when you have to prioritize or make trade-offs, you have some gauges.
1-2 of 2