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Why Women Love Warriors (Society & Love Story)

Once, I had a Swedish girlfriend. She was, and still is fantastic. So, on my first Saturday night out in Stockholm and I was going to finally meet her best friends, I was nervous. I wanted to leave a really good impression. Since my girl had an errant to run, I settled down in a bar in this beautiful Swedish capital and waited until they would all arrive. What happened next taught me more about men, women and toxic masculinity than any of our modern doctrines could ever teach me: Women love warriors. And to learn that lesson, I had to make a few huge mistakes of my own.

A night to remember

One by one her – absolutely riveting – female friends came into the bar and introduced themselves, with my girl arriving last. Her friends were really great, loving and friendly girls. I was mesmerized by their good vibes. Before I knew it, I was out with a group of the most beautiful women in the world in the most beautiful place on Earth. I felt fantastically loved. We went to the hottest place in town, filled with more gorgeous young women and men dancing and drinking and singing. Yes, in exactly the way you envision the hottest Swedish club to be; filled to the brim with fun, love and of course, sex.

The girls sat down at the best table, in the middle of the club, while I went for champagne to celebrate this great moment. When I came back to the table, they had left. Around the table where about a dozen young men of the kind of spoiled mommy boys (the Swedes call them ‘Brads’). I didn't understand what had occurred and was confused. So, I went in search of the girls and in some forgotten corner, finally found them. I asked what had happened with our table and my girl said in Swedish to her friends ‘don’t tell him’, hoping I would not understand.

Now, you have to know that I was young, overconfident and brash in that period. She knew that all too well. And she knew that if I would hear what had taken place, I would explode, as stupid young man are prone to do. In their excitement, her friends however decided to be honest and spill the beans. The 'brads' had come to their table and had threatened to beat up the girls if they didn’t immediately leave and give them the middle table in the club. They started pushing from the get go, dragging them away. Young, toxic men. The girls got really scared and left.

The next moment I can remember I found myself swinging a bottle of champagne over my head, in front of the table of these despicable little shits, ready to kick the butts of about a dozen spoiled little rascals.

With a nice big glass weapon.

In the heat of that moment I had decided that I’d win that fight quite easily, but that the bouncer at the entrance would become my real problem.

Fortunately, my newfound female friends decided to immediately hang on my body and arms, stopping me, pulling me away and out of the club as fast as they could. For a moment I thought I made the wrong impression and felt the Earth shatter under my feet. I lost my temper. I screwed it up. But something else happened. Instead, all my girls' her friends had basically fallen in love with me for the night.

I received hugs, kisses, smiles, winks… the girls were taking turns hanging on my arms, skipping through the streets, proud to walk with me. They laughed all the time and could not stop asking me questions, including if I had some hot Dutch friends like me. The night was on. It was overwhelming. At that moment, we formed an unbreakable bond. My chest was sticking forward like that of a silver-back gorilla. And I was very, very happy: I had succeeded in making friends with the friends of the girl that I so loved. And I never felt prouder to be her boyfriend than in that moment.

All, by picking a fight.

Something doesn’t add up here...

How on God's green Earth did that happen? Sounds pretty bad right? I mean, it can't be that all these girls were on me because I had been aggressive? Especially for modern-day Swedish women... there must be something wrong with this story?

Yet, it happened. I swear on my grandmothers cooking, it happened.

Here's the thing: Nothing about this story has anything to do with the modern image of men. As a society we have moved towards thinking men are most attractive when they act sophisticated, friendly and mostly play nice. The image of me swinging that champagne bottle sure as hell does not fit the description 'friendly' and 'nice'. To be perfectly clear, these girls are every bit the modern woman of today: healthy, confident, successful, intelligent, mindful, wealthy… the lot. And they reached it all on their own. They are the prime example, the poster children, nay, the pinnacle of successful feminism. Yet, they were attracted to a complete and utter buffoon like me.

Something really doesn’t add up here… but what exactly? What is the contradiction between that nice, peaceful man, as opposed to the image of the brute warrior?

Women want to feel safe

Now, many years later, I finally have the answer. I finally understand why they were so over me that night. Because with my hormones settling and grey hairs coming, I finally understand women better. Or at least, as far as a man like me ever can. You see, the reason at the bottom of it all, why they were so infatuated was this:

I made them feel safe.

That sounds weird I know. But hear me out. Sure, it was stupid, brash, buffoonish. Sure, it was the wrong place to pick a fight. Yet in my vigor I had given off a crystal clear signal. They had just been threatened. And I had stood up for them. Regardless of the numbers facing me. Regardless of the place. Regardless of the bouncer. I had reacted in their defense and would've fought the whole world for it if I had to.

And by doing so, I had become wildly, irresistibly attractive.

And that fact, is something so, so many of us can't believe and actively resist. We can't square such brutish behavior with our modern-day image of society, and most of all, men. In the eyes of those who feel they are modern, in that moment, I am the textbook example of all that is wrong with a guy today.

So, how did this come to be? I’m going to attempt to explain the misconceptions between equality and attraction. Feel free to totally disagree with this raging-monkey-man of course. But without friction, there can be no progress. So here goes nothing…

1. Equality is new… and still evolving

The first thing I feel we need to realize is that equality is a completely new concept, that is still very much evolving. We treat it as fixed. But in reality, it is quite far from fixed. The essence of equality is that all people, from all walks of life, get the same fair chance to pursue success, and share the same freedoms. And as a bare minimum, they have the freedom not to be prosecuted or disadvantaged in their careers and personal lives because of a demographic trait, such as gender.

On paper - especially the paper of a law book - that equality principle is quite simply fantastic. And fixed. In practice however, human beings are still part of the animal kingdom (just look at me…) and animals are governed by emotions, even when you make them equal to the law.

Western society is therefore always under attack for its emotionally driven inequalities, of which there are so many, I will not discuss all of them here. But if you zoom out and look at it from a historical perspective, modern Western society (not the old, colonial one) does deserve at least some credit. Even with all of its atrocities from the past, and its huge equality challenges right now, it is after all the first big society ever to officially make every single individual equal by law. In essence, striving for individual equality has in the entire history of this planet, in all of its millions of species and its billions of years of evolution, never, ever happened before on this scale.

And despite all its flaws and failures, and with a few smaller exceptions like the Amazons and the first true equal-for-women democracy build by the Pirates of the Carribean (yes, a few decades before The French Revolution and the US Declaration of Independence), the first society to have ever (as far as we know in the history of the universe...) introduced equality has been the West.

And you know, it's fresh. Truly a few decades old maybe. This means it is still evolving. Yet, modern Western society has learned quickly. It has already allowed movements like Women's Voting Rights, The Equal Rights Movement, The Feminist Movement, Black Lives Matter, the fairly recent MeToo Movement and its Women's March, Occupy and many others. In a lot of regimes around the world, these movements are still not possible, despite protests like The Arab Spring and the Hong Kong protests. But in modern Western society, and those influenced by it, they are, however rough and flawed, happening.

I'm very aware that it is not ideal yet, and use my sharpened pen frequently as a sword to fight inequality. But we are making progress. We are innovating through things like equal pay or equal representation, to see if we can speed up the process. Even if they sometimes are hit and miss, and aren't always helpful, we keep debating and experimenting until we get it right. In the hopes that someday, somehow, we can have a truly equal society.

So far however, we view the results as unsatisfactory, equal pay as a prime example. And we ask our selves why that is. As a society we frequently attribute this to white, male forces that are actively trying to block the progress we make. And while this is undeniably true, and we are fighting dumb old-fashioned belief systems championed by many of those men, in this evolution of equality, we are slowly finding out that the truth is more complicated. The truth is that in our eagerness to make it right, we are confusing equality by law, with 'being the same'.

2. We confuse equality with 'being the same'

A great example is again women. Many women don’t rise to the top. Many times because they are blocked. Blocked by old and smelly white guys. It's the truth.

But here's another truth: not all women are blocked by all men.

Women also choose different jobs and make different life choices than men. One could argue this is because of ‘the system’, and you'd be partially right. But this blog is called the whole story. And the whole story is that 'the system' is not the only argument here. For instance biology, such as having kids, attributes to this equation. To always point the finger at white men (yes, yes, this bonobo right here again...) is factually and statistically not the whole truth.

A vast amount of men actually love being stay-at-home dads for example, part time or full. Men in general, have by and large adapted. Many women choose occupations that leave them more room for other things than only a career, such as taking care of children or having more time for friends and hobbies. In short, what makes them happy. Some women have even made extraordinary smart moves, such as first securing financial stability and independence, and then finding a guy whose ego is okay with that. Women have even successfully structured a new branch of career-making by sharing tasks and jobs better than men usually do, making them less vulnerable to economic crises and better survivors in the capitalist economy. An economy that itself is evolving too, because of women in the workplace.

Plus, the focus on just the top is misleading. First of all, the numbers may not be where we want them yet, but they are growing both in absolute and relative terms. Second of all, at the bottom, more and more women are rising, while a lot of men stay stuck there. And thirdly, the middle classes is where women are making the most ground. Statistics show that in many areas in the western world, women in the middle classes are making more money than their male counterparts. The numbers show that unemployment, for instance, is now much more of a male problem than a female problem. So is obesity, drug addiction, crime... the list is long. And includes extremist ideologies that are, at this very moment, doing damage to arguable more than women's rights alone.

I myself, as a writer and musician, am also a less dramatic, but nonetheless prime example: many of my female friends make more money than me. Most of the dates I have are with women who are wealthier than me. And even if your definition of success is not measured in terms of income but in terms of job satisfaction and survival, I’d argue women are ahead of men there too. Again, something I had to learn the hard way in my own path to happiness and job satisfaction: the girls where ahead of me.

So, as equality arguments go, one could successfully argue that women are actually pulling ahead instead of falling behind. And the 'pulling ahead' is still increasing. It raises the question if we are focusing on the right demographic.

My point here is: we are equal by law, yet we are not the same. Using the yard stick of equality to argue we should be the same, doesn’t work in reality. We are just biologically different and make different choices (in general of course). We fight for different things, put energy in different occupations and have different ideas of what is true success. And that’s okay, as long as we all have fair chances and freedoms.

What’s not okay however, is to argue that this difference is always caused by men. In fact, it's a strange argument, since women seem to adapt better... by using these differences. In a free society, men don’t make the choices for the women. Women make their own. So, men can’t be held responsible for the outcome of the choices that women make in their own freedom.

That, however uncomfortable, is true equality: we are all measured by the yardstick of our individual choices. In fact, it is the essence of an equal society: free choice.

3. We confuse equality with attraction

The problem with arguing that inequality is all due to men has already come to the surface: a lot of men have now developed low confidence and often don't understand why. The reason I can already reveal: many men feel less useful than before, and should maybe get a bit of a boost by women.

And it doesn't help to attribute all of the inequality to the behavior of men, since many men didn't contribute to it, and are fine with equality. These arguments could actually be damaging to reaching more equality in society. Because arguing that all men are responsible for that bad stuff not only releases women of their own responsibilities, it also creates a narrative that foregoes the dozens of other factors in play. Such as hormones. Or seeking happiness. Or men who fight for equality.

The effects of this ‘man-shaming’ are felt everywhere and are, however tempting (even I do it sometimes ;), profoundly damaging. And here is the kicker: they are the major cause of either docile behavior or worse, the modern forms of toxicity in men.

Not only are men feeling less useful in society, they are also getting the blame. And no one, man, woman or everyone in between, likes to be blamed of something they are not the cause of. Why? Because it lowers your confidence.

And this is the point where evolution starts kicking in. And not in a nice way. Because when a man has low confidence, he sometimes changes his evolutionary tactics to try and get women. And many of those tactics are really horrible. It comes down to either trying to seek women's approval by playing nice or - even worse - by crossing that MeToo line. If whole scores of men start to feel low confidence, because society pushes them down with guilt, this becomes a gigantic problem. The fact that the MeToo Movement exists, is proof of that in at out of itself. The problem is here.

These men are caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, it is constantly implied that its ‘their fault’, simply because of their gender. On the other hand, the behavior they then start to exhibit is really bad. They feel trapped and start to lash out even more. The effect of this is 'victim blaming' women when they misbehave themselves. These men start to resent women, and when they show toxic behavior, they blame the women.

The way out of this conundrum is of course that we teach them to better express their emotions and work to rebuilt confidence. It sounds simple. Until you ask what we should be teaching them. The problem is that too many women are of the opinion that we should focus on the soft side, by teaching men they should behave in more feminine ways. These women are projecting their own experiences, instead of truly understanding men. In essence, they teach boys to not 'climb the tree', and quell their sexual desires or ambitions, because they are 'bad'.

And don't take my word for it. The effect so far has been that in all (!) 56 most developed countries in the world, men are lagging behind in education and employment, adding to the insecurity. Our teachings of 'quelling' and 'shaming' what it means to be a man, the 'hard' side if you will, are having the opposite effect, as the numbers show overwhelmingly. Sure, we had the right intentions with it, so I'm not blaming anyone. But the effect is factually the opposite.

Many men are now 'nice' men, who constantly seek the approval of women and who are afraid to speak out because they have been taught this is wrong behavior. And contrary to how it may feel, this 'niceness' is actually one of roads to toxicity.

The narrative these days is that toxicity is caused by 'porn' or 'locker room talk'. I'd argue that this is the effect, not the cause. It's psychology 101: toxicity (or docile behavior for that matter) is never the reason, it's always the outcome of low confidence. In other words, that narrative fights symptoms only, not the cause.

In practice, this narrative means we deny what men are: men are driven by their hormones to compete and climb those proverbial trees. Science is finding out that competition is actually a far greater factor in our evolution that we thought it was. It's our nature: We need to fall out to learn. We get endorphins from that, as nature intended. Nurture is needed to softer the blow of coming down, and be smarter about the climbing... but only in that order.

If you're a woman and you just felt a shiver from me saying that... that's not a very good sign. You cannot just teach your way out of millions of years of evolution. And, as I'll argue later, nor should you.

Plus, the result of this quelling of men's nature is ever lower confidence. That doesn't have to lead to toxicity per se. Thank the heavens it doesn't. But it always, without fail, leads to a decline in attraction. I know dozens of men who have adapted to this modern age, and who are deeply unhappy because they can't get a date, and suffer mental breakdowns without knowing the cause.

I've even been there myself.

And I know dozens of women who hang out with these men… but don’t want to date them. They don’t find them attractive in the slightest. And are increasingly unhappy that they cannot find an attractive man. The stories and experiences of my female friends have even made me deeply suspicious of ‘holistic’ men. Sure, they exist, but true holistic men are extremely rare (and that's coming from a guy who meditates and practices yoga...). I see these so-called holistic guys staring at a woman her behind in the downward facing dog at yoga, just as much as this horny chimpanzee does. Possibly even more.

The difference is that this baboon right here writing at you, doesn’t claim to be that enlightened. Through many mistakes, and enough stupid, even toxic moments of my own, I've come to realize I have a bit of a monster inside of me. I've learned that the real path to enlightenment is not to deny the existence of this monster. But rather, embracing that it's there. It's a paradox, by being aware of the the monster, I'm now staring at those butts a little less.

I know, it’s uncomfortable. These nice, friendly, sweet guys... they are staring at your butts! And I know, some women readers are really mad at me right now! But it’s the truth. Cross my heart. And when my female friends start dating these guys, they usually end up deeply disappointed. They have an initial good time, but at some point, they become bored with a guy who is always seeking their approval. While denying he stared at your bottom. It just feels unnatural to my female friends. And today, that docile male behavior, is the number one cause for divorce. Docile men are not attractive. Especially not to strong, independent women.

4. Positive masculinity exists… and it’s alive in women too

Yet right now in our society, we are even going as far as vilifying the men who, through research, coaching and lectures, try to re-frame the masculine into something positive and modern. They are seen as a threat. The most famous of these men is Jordan Peterson, who has been attacked from all sides. I too thought he was the wrong kind of guy, taught to me by women, until finally a woman (thank you Marianna!) showed me the truth.

Turns out he is a clinical psychologist who has helped thousands of people in therapy. Who has a daughter fighting a severe, heart breaking disease all of her life. And who is a man of science, who has based all his conclusions on decades of research and experience in healing people. And who fights for something called positive masculinity, in an effort to get all of these lost men back on track.

And yes, of course. Peterson is controversial. I've disagreed with him too. Maybe he could do better. And I feel he's not always right. But that's not my point. My point is: you shouldn't vilify a man who is trying to make other men better. Whatever his flaws, he just doesn't deserve that.

I have to be honest: it makes me very angry that there are so many women out there who try to vilify men who dedicate their life to fighting male toxicity, docile behavior and low confidence. But I'm even angrier at myself for first believing these women.

In my view, it all comes down to this: there is a lot to be gained if we teach our men that their natural aggression, competition and sex drive can actually be a good thing, as long as it is controlled, Kung Fu Panda style, with respect and a sense of humor. We'll have to work with men's natural aggression and competition and make it better.

This is the ideal: We accept the nature of men as competitive. We see it as positive. But we nurture the energy into a healthy competition and sex drive.

Yet if and when we start to see that aggression itself as toxic, we're lost.

In other words: how men teach men. Just consider this: even the sweetest, nerdiest young men, looking so very peaceful behind their computer game, and who don't really feel like climbing trees... are actually shooting the virtual shit out of other men in online games. It's nature. And even women do it now too!

Positive masculine aggression makes you competitive, ambitious, creative, innovative and strive to become the best version of yourself. It's not a curse, it's a drive. And it is just as beneficial for women to tap into that energy as it is for men. Ironically, it is actually the best path for women to an equal pay raise. Although I'll let you be the judge if that's good or bad...

In short, women embracing this positive masculine energy brings us all a step closer to equality instead of further away. And men acknowledging their inner warrior (again, controlled, nurtured Kung Fu Panda style) leads to more satisfactory love interests for women.

Or, to call it by its name: better sex.

But by trying to root out this positive masculinity, and wanting femininity to dominate the equation, we create unbalanced men. The baby and the bath water... you're catching my drift. Teaching men to behave like women is very different to teaching men to just get in touch more with their feelings, while staying perfectly masculine. The latter is good for emotional growth. The former goes against what men are biologically. One could even argue that the women who push this, are themselves exhibiting toxic beliefs about men.

And oh the irony... wasn't the problem all these ages that too many men told women what to do and how to be? Instead of accepting them and giving them the freedom to be who they are? Aren't these women doing exactly the same right now?

And that brings me to my last point...

5. Men need to feel useful too

For eons, the greatest injustice of mankind has been inequality, especially that of women. Or to quote Sherlock in The Abominable Bride: "To put right an injustice as old as humanity itself." Women have been mistreated for far to long, and now, finally, and although not perfectly, they have access to the roles that they themselves wish to play in society, business, family and friendships.

They have choice.

But does equality mean we have to forget about our competitive nature? The answer I feel, is no. Equality is about setting the ground rules that we all have to play in, when we compete with one another. It's a paradox: we play by equal rules nurtured on the same field... and that's where we can safely let our different natures out.

You see men need to feel like they have a positive role in a woman's life. No one likes to be dismissed, no one likes to be blamed. And yes, of course, emotionally we get the resentment that many (not all) women feel when they think about man's oppression throughout all those eons. It's horrible. It's terrible. It needs to be condemned forever and ever more.

But this society, however flawed, is the first society that has opened the doors to more. Many of those doors where opened by women. But many others, by men. And instead of blaming men, if we can find it in our hearts to teach them how incredibly useful they can be in that fight, maybe these purposeful men will also start to look a little more attractive to all those strong, independent women out there.

Back to Stockholm

Back in Stockholm, all those many years ago, the girls and I ended up in a different club. We drank and danced and confessed our love until the morning hours. It was beautiful, loving, fun. Sexy. Profoundly feminine. My testosterone shot through the roof, and paradoxically, made me feel more relaxed and at ease.

The sole subject of the conversation that night was men. I’ve never been asked so many questions. They could not stop talking about how the men in their surroundings had turned into such weak guys, adopting sneaky tactics previously only associated with sneaky women, and staying mommy’s boys forever. In short, brads who did not grow up to be real men.

And all of this happened in the world capital of feminism.

From that point on, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with women who complain about the same thing. I'm probably failing a hundred times over with these words on this blog. But it just feels like emancipation has nothing to do with attraction. I can feel it in the very fibers of my intuition. We need to embrace the natural aggression of men, their need to fight for the right thing, to be the muscle that can keep a woman safe. Sure, it needs to be with the right intention, the right rules, the right playing ground. But throwing away men's natural tendencies seems to only backfire.

I guess we're all still learning.

I myself have experienced a period of low confidence and depression (check out my book Restart) in which I was not attractive to women. I kept ending up in the 'friend zone' from minute one: sweet guy, great friend, just not that attractive. It took me a long time to climb out again and accept that my sexual drive and my ambition to climb that societal tree is a good thing, instead of something to be condemned.

It took me a long time to find myself back with that champagne bottle in my hand.

Of course, it goes without saying, I don't want to fight. But that's not the point. I feel there is a truth that many modern women find very uncomfortable to admit publicly these days, thinking they are betraying emancipation: equality is not the same as attraction. And strong men (not the toxic 'strongmen') are really, really great men. And yes, they are not always nice.

All men are still warriors. Even those without the big muscles. We need to strive, compete, even if it's just with ourselves, but often, also with other men. If we don't, we either turn toxic or docile. Either way, unattractive.

And while I deeply believe that the feminine, holistic point of view should take over the world right now, and even gave the subtitle of one of my books And the Women Against the Robots (The Outerweb) to prove that I do, I’d argue that on a primal level, men are still what they always have been. And that's a good, good thing.

All men are driven by sex and ambition. Just like animals. In fact, we are animals. Have we forgotten that? Women are attracted to that, just like in the animal kingdom. After just a few centuries of democracy in a few countries, and a few decades of equality breakthroughs, that has not changed. And it shouldn’t have to.

Equality is about free choice, not about being the same. It never was and never will be.

If we teach ourselves that this masculine drive is not an inherently bad thing, that it makes us better, and if we use it Kung Fu Panda style, we might actually be creating a paradox in this evolution of equality: a more equal place for women, backed up by a little extra positive masculinity. Women have fought and won their equal place themselves. But that doesn't mean men aren't useful anymore.

That’s the whole story. You may think me a buffoon. You may condemn me for trying to use violence. But at my most basic, I'd do the same for you if you were threatened by spoiled brads. I acknowledge and embrace that side of me, because when I use the animal inside me correctly, it makes me a better man.

And make no mistake. In the end I reacted to vile, despicable toxic men, in part created by a feminist ideology gone too far, that unnaturally pushed these men away from their true, positive sense of masculinity.

And who, when mommy wasn’t looking... fucking threatened to beat up my girlfriend. And even with these grey hairs I have now, I'd still do the same.

To make them feel safe.

It became a night to cherish forever.

(God, I miss you girls! Never change!)

Love, as always.

Rogier van Kralingen


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