Poetry is for women. Painting is feminine. A guy who can dance is gay. Keep your singing in the shower. Haha, he’s a theater geek. Oh, you play in the band?
Are you a real man? How do you know? There are plenty of forums and sites that will tell you. They focus on being an alpha male vs. a beta male, taking a red pill instead of taking a blue pill, and how to slay women like crazy night after night. But I wonder if any of them include articles about the benefits of classical music, or why you should visit an art museum?
Are we trying to mimic primates? A line is being drawn in the sand when guys talk about being an alpha male vs. a beta male. The message seems to convey it’s not ok to engage your right brain. Any guy doing anything considered remotely feminine or weak is judged to be a beta, and these weak men can’t get women, right? After all, women can’t stand a creative man! They’d never say such a thing. Instead, they must lie in surveys, and they must be faking it in scientific studies. Men, not women, have decided women like jerks.
This type of mindset causes shame when a guy falls short of some false ideal. Who best represents the rugged, lone wolf alpha male anyhow? The Marlborough man, but even the Marlborough man is portrayed by a model, a beta-type job. Just like the model who portrays the Marlborough man, we try to mirror his look, his lifestyle, and his distant demeanor. Or, maybe you don’t have to pattern yourself after a model. Perhaps you were taught these traits by a distant father?
The truth is, there are “feminine” characteristics within every man. Back in Renaissance Italy, these were essential to embrace in order to become a whole man, or the universal man. You may have heard of the Renaissance man ideal? It arose from a belief humans are powerful, “limitless in their capacities for development, and led to the notion that people should embrace all knowledge and develop their capacities as fully as possible.” A real man was a developed man who excelled in every area, from education, to athleticism, to creativity.
But what about natural selection? Doesn’t it dictate only the strongest survive and reproduce? That may hold true in a survivalist construct. Alpha male types may have a leg up during the Zombie Apocalypse, but have you forgotten about sexual selection? The female peacock picks the male with the prettiest plumes. The males that wear the most colors, often stand out to the female species. Could this be why the creative man stands out above all others?
According to Mating Intelligence Unleashed by Drs. Glenn Geher and Scott Barry Kaufman,
A feature such as our ability to write poetry or fiction arose not because these skills helped in survival but rather because they helped in the domain of life that’s even more important than survival (from a Darwinian perspective): mating.
The book goes on to cite studies showing creative men have more sexual partners most likely because they have greater success with women over other men. They conclude, “The link between creativity and mating success remains.”
Perhaps it’s time to time pick up the guitar instead of the iron? Another study certainly makes an argument for it. A young research assistant approached 300 women (18-22) with a guitar, a gym bag, or nothing (control) to ask them for their number. Which strategy came out on top? The guitar worked 31% of the time while the gym bag came in last at 9%. Why not hedge your bets and carry both?
Bottom line, men are leading men astray with alpha male ambitions, there was a time when men embraced all of their creative gifts because society encouraged it, and when it comes down to it, men in touch with their creative side have better luck with women.