The Me-Me-Mating Dance

song du jour: Desperate but not Serious, Adam Ant

mood: slightly bored

Why is it that so very many men, when confronted with whatever curve meets their fancy, cease any indication of social skills and begin blathering on about their work, latest projects, latest ideas/obsession, wealth, or whatever they deem to be success as if they were offering up a slab of gazelle to a female in the sad hope of clothing removal? I'm no longer merely a single woman at parties or in the grocery store. I'm a working anthropologist, detachedly observing the tedious awkward strutting about of a large scale hominid-bird, who has just spied 2" of cleavage.

Why is it that so many men believe that if they talk about themselves incessantly, it will get them some nooky? I've come up with only two answers. One possible answer is that complete lack of awareness is an inevitable result of all the blood running out of the upper brain and into the lower one, a theory backed up by more than one woman's assessment of her lover's (or lovers') performance. The other answer is this ritual has worked in the past.

Contemplating the first reason, certainly not all men behave this way. My guy friends don't, and given that they are usually confronted with that same 2" of cleavage, I have some proof that men do have some sort of system in place for making sure enough blood stays in the upper brain for them to remain highly intelligent beings WITH social skills. Most of my male friends are married or in partnerships, and whether I know their female partners or have become friends with them through those partners, these guys are some of my most favorite people with whom I giddily look forward to having amazing conversations about books and ideas. Why? They are exceedingly bright people, who grasp the power of the word dialogue. I'm also quite certain that these men did not initially win over their mates by performing the Me-Me-Mating dance.

Regarding the second reason, that women respond favorably to such egotism is a sad reality, and I confess here and now that the slightly more subtle forms of me-me-me have been disguised in just enough charm to catch my attention for a time because I've long been aware that such boasting is an indication in this culture that a guy is interested, but ultimately I get bored (and frustrated) waiting for that time when just a little bit of the deal will be about me.

Usually we find enough characteristics we like to overlook the obvious. More often than not, when we discover there is no room for our own interests, values, work, etc., we hold onto those good qualities like a loosening lifeline in fear that there won't be anyone else. Unfortunately, giving into the attention of a guy, who thinks the world exists primarily for his attempts at success in it, sends a message that a partner too is willing to rotate around that axis. I believe we call this patriarchy.

So why is that I find myself witnessing verbal equivalents of wing flapping and chest beating so frequently now? Has it always been this way in my dating life, or is this what's left of the single males at my age? I try remembering back to my 20's, and the picture does come up, occasionally, of me wide-eyed and smiling until my face ached, and saying, "oh...uh huh... how interesting..." but perhaps only on half my first dates at most. Now it seems endless be the single males 25 or 55. I'm wondering if times changed so much during my married years, or, keenly aware that I have so much fun living the creative life and fearing time will run out before I learn to speak French fluently, use half the pack ratted art supplies in my studio, or ever attempt learning to play the piano again, I have lost all tolerance for men, who are dumb enough to think they can get me into bed by talking endlessly about themselves.

A good salsa partner will start out slowly, assessing what his partner knows, likes, and can do well. It is his job to frame her, and though he might, much later on in the dance, share with her moves he knows that she does not, it will be for the expansion of the dance NOT to boss her around, ONLY if he knows well the woman's required footwork, and always with the goal of making her look and feel good about where this vertical expression is headed. I think I danced with someone like this once.

A friend of mine, who recently witnessed a me-me-mating dance performed on my behalf, later stated brilliantly that what works best is when a man looks to the woman to discover "what the dance is" and then dances this dance, with the man's powerful masculine agency still fully intact. Straight single men, that, as Harry Conick Jr. would say, is "The Recipe for Makin' Love."


kate said...

. . . you totally nailed this . . . me-me-mating dance is exactly what it is, and oh god yes, it is so freakin boring . . . i can't help but wonder if it would be more interesting if the guys themselves were more interesting . . . so much of it is just mundane blah-blah minutae . . . but on a positive note, at least we get to see right up front that they are self-involved and oblivious :)

victoria said...


lol. Thanks, yes that is a positive note and one on which I can so frequently count. ;-)

David Jon Peckinpaugh said...


Why not feel sorry for the poor chaps? So much of man's life is dictated by his accomplishments (business, career, sports, even in entertainment or the arts) that many guys perhaps suppose that the same modus operandi ought to apply to romantic affairs. You know, that "I'll show her I'm a real catch" spiel.

Of course lucky ol' me has never had to sit on the other-side, nodding my head politely, all the while as I contemplate sinister ways for decapitating the talking head across from me!! ; o )

David Jon

ebuddha said...

There are two ways that guys "go off at the mouth", listing their accomplishments. From a big ego, or from insecurity, a type of male "performers anxiety".

It is hard to believe that ALL of the guys that you are meeting are the first type. The thing is, it can be hard to tell, if the second type feels like you are VERY interested in what they have to say about themselves! Unconsciously they think, "wow, she must like me talking about myself, I should keep it up".

Now, to test this out, you need to break it up with, "that's interesting, and it reminds me of this (insert idea/philosophical question/spiritual value", and with all of your body language, convey your passionate interest in this idea/question/value/personal story/humor.

If they are of the first type, they will lose interest quickly. If of the the second type, without skipping a beat, they will move their performance anxiety, and attempt to perform to the best ability, in this new venue. (That again can be grating, at least til the guy settles down, but better than the first, I suppose...)