Ladies: Is Compliance Sexy?

(H/T up front to Scott Greenfield and his ostreoid Simple Justice, in the ABA's Blawg 100 once again.)

“I … watch him working at the stove.  His easy concentration, economical movements, setting up in me a procession of sparks and chills.”

– Alice Munro, Dear Life, according to this post by Stewart Baker.

I am not a woman, but I am a cook. And I can imagine why a cook's easy concentration and economical movements might set up in a woman a procession of sparks and chills: it's genetic.

Cooking invokes core male competencies that men are genetically programmed to exercise and women are genetically programmed to admire: control of fire, control of knives (dangerous things), creative thinking, providing for others.

We are programmed thus because the man who could control fire and dangerous things, think creatively, and provide for others was, in paleolithic times when our programming was set, more likely to keep a mate and offspring alive long enough for the offspring themselves to reproduce. These competencies arose not by government fiat but by natural selection—the guys who didn't have them didn't have as many offspring who reproduced as those who did.

Compliance, by contrast, is not a core male competency.

I can imagine no reason that seeing a male cooperating with the orders of a bureaucrat would make a female dewy for the complying male. For the bureaucrat, perhaps—command is another core male competency—but not for the complier.

So when Stewart Baker writes of the reason he tries (along with the mouse in his pocket?) to comply with TSA bureaucrats' orders with a minimum of wasted movements:

In part we do it to keep our place in the hierarchy of guys.  But in the end, what we’re really hoping for is an Alice Munro moment — that our easy concentration and economical movements will set up in someone “a procession of sparks and chills,” followed a few pages later by, well, what we deserve for all that demonstrated competence.

I think, "the poor schlub must not know how to cook." Comparing cooking to going through security is like… well, it's a metaphor that defies syllogism.

Baker also compares going through security to shooting trashcan baskets with discarded papers—another inapt metaphor—"throwing things" is a core male competency; "being a bottom" isn't.

Baker writes,

There’s no doubt that it’s virulent. As a privacy skeptic and national security conservative, I’m used to hostile comments. But it’s only when I defend TSA that the comments go beyond hostile to visceral and occasionally even spittle-flecked.

Why is that?

Well, Stewart: I think it's probably because you're a freak who thinks he's going to impress the ladies with your excellence at submission. Granted, there is someone for everyone, and there are undoubtedly ladies who are looking for competent fecklessness in a mate, but my hunch is that they are in a tiny minority.

Ladies, what say you? Is there something about seeing a guy go through TSA security with no wasted movement that gets your juices flowing?

5 responses to “Ladies: Is Compliance Sexy?”

  1. True Story:

    I’ve been told by plenty of girls that they love guys who meekly debase themselves in public.


  2. Ok, I am a “lady” and I will speak up. Uh, NO. I cannot say that I am excited by spineless jellyfish. Of course, anyone stupid enough to get arrested by joking that he had a bomb would not do it for me either. I kind of like the people who go through it muttering about the waste of security theater and how the terrorists win when we let this happen. But then, I have been anti-authoritarian as long as I can remember.

  3. My heart flutters and my knees get weak — you’re free to contemplate other physiological reactions, although I won’t discuss them here — for a guy who will go on a road trip with me and a car full of offspring, traversing approximately 2000 road miles (each way), because I want to visit people but refuse to put myself (or the aforementioned offspring) through TSA’s Security Theater/get groped by blue-shirted thugs. That shows strength and fortitude and it’s undeniably sexy.

    Unquestioning compliance with demeaning and pointless routines, obedient submission to authority? Contemplating that behavior makes me feel disdain and brings on physiological reactions like: looking away, crossing my arms, face wrinkling up like I’m smelling something rotten, and I turn away while saying “ewwww.”

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