Women love warriors
Updated: Jan 18
Once, I had a Swedish girlfriend. She was (and still is) fantastic. So, on my first Saturday night out in Stockholm, when 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 and women than any of our modern doctrines could ever teach me: Women love warriors.
A night to remember
One by one her – absolutely riveting – female friends came into the bar and introduced themselves, with my girl arriving last. 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 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 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. The kind of spoiled mommy boys (the Swedes call them ‘Brads’). 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. In their excitement, her friends however decided to 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. Young, toxic men. The girls got 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. 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' 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
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 play nice. The image of me swinging that champagne bottle sure as hell does not fit the description 'nice'. To be perfectly clear, these girls are every bit the modern woman of today: healthy, confident, successful, intelligent, mindful, wealthy… the lot. They are the prime example, the poster children, nay, the pinnacle of successful feminism.
Yet, they were attracted to a complete and utter buffoon. 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? 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. On paper, especially the paper of a law book, that 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 by 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, 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.
This means it is still evolving. Modern Western society has learned. And it has already allowed movements like Women's Voting Rights, The Equal Rights Movement, The Feminist Movement, Black Lives Matter, the recent MeToo Movement and its Women's March, The Arab Spring, Occupy, The Hong Kong protests and many others. In a lot of regimes around the world, these movements are still not possible. But in modern Western society, and those influenced by it, they are, however rough, 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.
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, in this evolution of equality, we are slowly finding out that the truth is more complicated.
2. We still 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. But not all women are blocked by all men. They 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...) is factually and statistically untrue.
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. Women have even successfully structured this by sharing tasks and jobs better than men usually do, even making them less vulnerable to economic crises and better survivors in the capitalist economy, that itself is evolving too, because of women in the workplace.
And although they are not found in the top so much, 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. And even if your definition of success is not measured in terms of money but in terms of job satisfaction and survival, I’d argue women are ahead of men there too. As equality arguments go, one could argue that women are actually pulling ahead instead of falling behind. 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 can actually be called 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. 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. And to attribute all of the inequality to the behavior of men, 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.
The effects of this ‘man-shaming’ are felt everywhere and are 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. When a man has low confidence, he sometimes changes tactics to try and get to women. By either trying to seek their approval or - again 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.
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 of course condemned. They feel trapped and start to lash out even more. The way out of this conundrum is 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'.
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' what it means to be a man, the 'hard' side if you will, are having the opposite effect, as the numbers show overwhelmingly. 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 too many turn toxic.
The narrative these days is that toxicity is caused by 'porn' or 'locker room talk'. I'd argue that this is not the cause, but the effect. 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. We need to fall out to learn. We get endorphins from that, as nature intended. 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. 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.
I know, it’s uncomfortable. These nice guys... 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 to 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 perfectly balanced, thoughtful 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. In short, a great guy.
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 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. But if 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. 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, 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 excepting them and giving them the freedom to be who they are? Aren't these women doing exactly the same right now?
Back to Stockholm
Back in Stockholm, 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, sexy, loving, fun. Profoundly feminine. The sole subject 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. It just feels like emancipation has nothing to do with attraction. 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 great men. 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. And 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 through positive masculinity.
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. I acknowledge and embrace that side of me, because when I use it correctly, it makes me a better man. And make no mistake, in the end I reacted to vile, toxic men, created by a feminist ideology gone too far, that unnaturally pushed them away from their true, positive sense of masculinity.
And who, when mommy wasn’t looking, fucking threatened to beat up my girlfriend.
It become a night to cherish forever.
(God, I miss you girls! Never change!)
Rogier van Kralingen