Men are risk takers, women are risk averse.

It’s generally quite accepted, even among the most ardent egalitarians, that men are risk takers and women are risk averse. It plays out everywhere, from women not asking for promotions right down to teenage boys dying more regularly from stunts gone wrong. There are all sorts of explanations as to how this comes about: hormone profiles, socialization, neural pathways and rewards. But there is an obvious reason why these behaviours are selected for, and knowing it benefits men women alike.

Make take the risks in society. They do this to surpass other men. Whether they’re starting their own business or doing a backflip off a tree into a pool, men want to become better than other men and be seen doing it. This is generally positioned by women as men wanting to show off and get social points. But the reality runs deeper.

The reason why men “peacock” like this, rather than by dressing in bright clothes or singing as they walk down the street, is because humans are brainy, social animals. And taking risks advances society. Why does the guy who starts his own business get rewarded with wealth and status? Because he provides a necessary service, a tribal environment, a product, employment, etc. He is actively creating wealth. Why does the guy who backflips off the tree get attention and praise? Because he is illustrating his physical prowess and confidence in his body, two valuable genetic traits. Both men are adding something of value to the world they live in, actively or passively.

The major disadvantage to this behaviour is quite obvious: death, resource depletion, ostracization, general failure. When a man takes a risk and it backfires, at best he is humiliated, at worst he is dead. A society of inefficient risk takers is a dead society. Therefore, as men mature and see the downsides of risks, their own risks become more calculated, preserving the older, more skilled men of the tribe to pass their wisdom down and ensure greater survival of the next generation.

On the other hand, women are naturally incredibly risk averse. We do this to survive. Women are the weaker sex, a necessity for the raising of children and socially dependent. We are unlikely to take any risks, even in our reckless teen years. Generally, men assume this is due to frailty or cowardice.

The reasons women avoid risks are also due to our brainy, social nature. Our babies need a very long time being protected and fed to grow their big brains and learn how to be adults. They need our care and attention. Possibly as a luxury given to us by men, possibly to encourage men to treat us kindly, we have got weaker from our primitive days and our bodies are gradually better and better adapted for nurturing, feeding and caring in general. This is not a flaw: by raising smart, healthy children in a safe environment we also add value to the world we live in.

The major disadvantage to this is less obvious, but is there: women’s low risk taking is a net loss. Look at how many great male inventors, leaders and artists there have been through history. Or, if you doubt the veracity of history, look at the great male explorers, inventors and investors, the risk takers of our generation. Imagine if the number of great women equalled that. Society would speed along over twice as fast from the sheer levels of innovation.

So men take risks, which is good because it pushes society forwards and bad because it endagers their lives and tribes. And women do not take risks, which is good because it provides care and safety and bad because it limits the progress of human society.

And therein lies a key compatibility.

Men’s strength lies in their ability to make calculated risks.

Women’s strength lies in our ability to accept calculated risks.

Any internal restriction on a man’s risk taking is a negative. If men always stopped at the safe line then society’s progress would be slow and staggered. But if men never knew when to stop or give in, or never paused for thought, then most men would be dead. Enter women: from his mother’s overbearing eyes during his childhood, to his scaredy cat girlfriends in his teens and twenties, to his wary wife in his thirties onwards, men have benefitted from the slightly paranoid voice of risk aversion. They will brush it off and often take the risk anyway, but always with a steadier foot, a more careful eye or an extra protective measure.

Any amount of spontaneous risk taking in women is also a negative. If women always toed the line of danger then society would be many mothers and babies short, drawing our growth to a halt. But if women never permitted a risk to be taken, then men would either become too weak to bring progress or exit society as a whole (reminds me of something, that…). Enter men: by making calculated risks and undertaking dangerous work on her behalf, the men in a woman’s life show her that risks can be taken in a relatively safe manner. Women will brush it off and still hide from danger, but always with a greater sense of security, that we can rely on men and trust their reason.

In a relationship, any relationship, be it parent-child, teacher-student, romantic, brother-sister or even work, we can make these facts play to our and everyone’s advantages.

Men:

  1. Take whatever risks you need to.
  2. Listen to women’s paranoias.
  3. Pause and assess which fears stem from a natural perspective.
  4. Ease her fears whenever possible.
  5. Take the risks she ought to take when her fear holds her back…
  6. …or at least make her feel safe and supported as she takes the risk herself.

Women:

  1. Make sure your life is safely guarded against unnecessary risks.
  2. Observe men’s risk taking.
  3. Urge caution and try and phrase advice so they will understand.
  4. Accept when he is going to do it anyway.
  5. Do not be afraid to demand comfort or exclusion from an activity if the risk bothers you.
  6. Reward successful risks, and do not blame or nag when the reward falls short.

After all, we want neither a society where women throw themselves blindly screaming into activities that terrify them, or feel pressured to take big risks to “look mature”, nor a society where men pussyfoot around their troubles and choke back the risks they want to take for fear of female retribution. We want a society where women calculate risks and men take them, with both considering the other’s perspective.

We are not broken, unequivalent or stupid. We do not need to be fixed. We are two perfectly compatible sexes and our roles serve a distinct purpose.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

10 Things To Love About Men.

Women as a gender get an awful lot of love from men and women alike. But rarely do men get to hear the voice of appreciation. I guess many men don’t really want it, or are indifferent to it. But, for those to whom it will make a difference, here are 10 things I love about men. They aren’t demands or my requirements, but things I have noticed about men in general that I really like.

1: Men are safe.

Starting with a big one. Whatever the media tries to tell you, men are safe. Yes, they are more powerful than you. But if a man attacks you, who is more likely to defend you? If you’re walking down the street at night with a friend, who do you feel safer around? Most men will not hurt you. In fact, most men will defend you and defend you well.

2: Men are generous.

Men are always eager to give to children and women. They will voluntarily take on children that are not biologically theirs, they will let you have the last tub of cream at the supermarket, they will hold the door for you, they will give you money for a bus home, all without expecting anything in return.

3: Men are calm.

They rarely if ever have emotional outbursts and when they do it’s usually very small compared to how bad the situation got. Men don’t break down and cry, get angry and shout or get excited and run around anywhere near as much as women do. And that’s refreshing.

4: Men are paternal.

Again, in the face of what the media says, men are generally amazing fathers. They are willing to go the extra mile for their kids, to welcome a child from a woman’s previous relationship, to protect and help children that are lost and scared. If it weren’t for how much paternal instinct is demonized and misrepresented, men would be as eager to protect and care for children as they are to protect and care for women.

5: Men are to the point.

From my observations, men hate to leave you hanging. They will be straight forward to you, say what they know, think and feel and will leave it at that or let you have your say. The only time they hold things back is when they believe it could harm a preexisting relationship more than it could help any parties.

6: Men are easygoing.

Men don’t take themselves or anything too seriously. They will engage in banter with each other and not at any point stop being friends. They will take an event that a woman may find mortifying and within seconds find the hilarity in it. They enjoy being relaxed and comfortable and will joke about anything once they’re sure they won’t be crucified for it.

7: Men are hardworking.

All animals are naturally lazy and the human male is no exception. But men prioritize completing a task rather than finishing the day or botching something. Men will work very hard to make sure something is complete to the best of their ability, rarely procrastinate and rarely if ever hide a badly done job.

8: Men are forgiving.

Men seem far less likely than women to hold onto past trespasses. Once the matter has been discussed and made right, men just let these things go and return to how they were before. They will never be brought up again.

9: Men are careful.

Back to the point of physical strength: men are amazingly strong. Women, pound for pound, can only recruit about 65% of the strength men can. Women are usually also lighter and less muscles than men, due to dieting and lower testosterone. Yet men very rarely hurt women. Even when a policeman is physically restraining a woman who is acting out or when hitting a woman was an appropriate response to a meltdown, men rarely cause women a quarter of the harm they are capable of. And, as point one states, generally they won’t even hit us to begin with.

10: Men are lovers.

Men love incredibly deeply and genuinely. They want the very best for everyone they love, from their children to their parents, from their lovers to their best friends. Men aren’t miserly with their love, they love freely, they love fully and if they love you they throw themselves into making your life better with as much energy as they have to spare.

And those are ten things I have observed about men (in general) that I love and think are brilliant.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

What are some things you’ve observed about men or women that you enjoy seeing?

5 Things Women Get Easy (that men would love).

In every society there are things that come easier to some people than to others and gender is one of those divides. Even in a primitive society, women often miss out on adventure and meat for being at home, whilst men miss out on safety and fruit for being away. In today’s society we’re told time and time again about the cultural and legal privileges that men have over women and we’re only just starting to acknowledge the many advantages that women have legally and in education. However we don’t really touch on the cultural advantages women have that men have to work incredibly hard to get.

So here are five privileges our culture bestows on women that men rarely receive, but absolutely love receiving.

1: Physical touch and sex.

Women benefit from all sorts of physical interactions. I’ll focus on two extremes: basic touch and sex.

Basic touch is when a friend hugs you, or a coworker rests a hand on your shoulder to reassure you. Women are more likely to be offered this touch and, with new concerns about harassment, less likely to receive it when we don’t want it.

Sex has always been easier for women to get than for men, as humans are social animals and for society to thrive, all women must be offered a chance to reproduce. However men are becoming increasingly stigmatized for their sexual urges and natural desires on top of this, which means men have a much harder time getting sex.

However men enjoy all sorts of physical contact and are just as de-stressed by a hug as a woman is.

2: Help.

Women are more likely to be offered a helping hand with something difficult and less likely to be stigmatized for asking for help. This means that in every case where a woman finds herself in trouble she is more likely to be helped on her way by a friend or stranger than a man is.

This is even reflected by our social aid projects. Although by far more men are homeless than women, more women receive homelessness support. Although men suffer domestic violence and especially physical abuse as much as women, almost all DV shelters assume that the woman was the victim and most are women-only.

We are a society unwilling to help men even when they need it.

3: Common courtesy.

When you’re exiting a supermarket and someone lets you out before they enter, when a parking spot is given to you, when a door is held open for you or helps you pick up something you dropped, that is actually a form of common courtesy, a way of being gentle and polite to everyone around you.

But, again, women are on the receiving end more often than men. Try watching a doorway from a waiting room or a cafe for a few hours. Most of the people having a door held for them will be women, even if it’s also a woman holding the door. Yet sometimes even when their arms are full, men don’t get that same bit of help. But it’s beyond assistance. If someone is stood by a door, struggling with a pile of boxes and nobody opens it or held it open for them, they are practically invisible. Nobody sees them, so nobody extends that politeness to them.

But apparently most men are invisible in that regard.

4: Assumption of parental instinct.

When a woman moves to collect a child at the park, nobody questions it. When a female teacher sees a young boy after school, nobody questions it. When a mother is involved in a case of domestic violence against her child, nobody believes for a second that she was a willing and sane participant. This is the assumption of parental instinct: the assumption that a mother is a parent first and a human later. And it definitely has its downsides, as all the aforementioned scenarios have played out before and the ending has been child abuse.

But men face the opposite. The assumption they have no parental instinct. If a father takes a picture of his own child at the park he is attacked. When a male teacher sees a young girl after school she is questioned as to what he did to her. When a father is involved in a case of domestic violence against his child he is assumed to be the instigator. Whilst nobody should carry the assumption of parental instinct the way mothers do, nobody should be assumed to entirely lack parental instinct the way fathers are. The choice between a good father and a drug addicted mother should be obvious and his relationship status shouldn’t be the pivot point for the entire custody case.

In these cases, ultimately the children are the ones who suffer.

5: A break or a free pass.

Women get this and we sometimes don’t even realize it. It ranges from women (in general) receiving shorter sentences for the exact same crimes as men (in general), to girls being more likely to get a hall pass or extra mock time in school, to women being able to smile their way out of a parking ticket. In short, because women look more childlike and frail than men and because women are attractive to men, men and women alike are more likely to give a woman a free pass if she acts out, commits a crime or lies.

Men don’t get this pass unless they are under serious duress or look particularly infantile and sweet. Even when they are literally children, boys are more likely to be tried as adults in serious criminal cases than girls. And men of certain socioeconomic, cultural or racial backgrounds in certain countries may be treated more harshly than the law requires. The assumption seems to be that men “can take it”. A man “can take” being forced to the ground and having a rib broken during arrest. A boy “can take” waiting for half an hour for the toilet. A man “can take” paying his parking ticket. A boy “can take” being tried as an adult for arson. Girls are sweet and innocent, women are childlike and nice, but males need to own their actions and then some.

But men aren’t machines. Yes, men are more designed for hardship than women. This much is evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of years men have spent hunting and warring as women stayed home and faced relatively little danger. But what is natural isn’t necessarily fair and in a world where everyone abides by the law as best they can and everyone pays for their actions, it is genuine injustice to make men pay more unnecessarily.

And those are five things that come very easily to women that men would love to have. Use this information as you will. Maybe you will give your husband or brother some more hugs, or your son a free pass when your daughter would get one in the same situation. Maybe you’ll think more about parenting and the assumption of parenthood before siding with mothers against fathers. Maybe you’ll even consider men’s human rights a cause you are willing to support and actively fight for them. Whatever you do to give men a little taste of female privileges, however small, remember this: it doesn’t hurt women, it doesn’t hurt society and it makes the world a better and fairer place.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!