Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Asshole Effect: Fact or Fancy

I came across the above image on my Facebook news feed attached to the caption: "for some reason I believe that there's truth in this..." There's a lot of value judgement inherent in the image itself - two girls who look like they're plucked out of Girls Gone Wild, and the composer of the image clearly bitter about not being able to score with them. The crass statement, "fucked and chucked by an asshole" to me already indicates a level of respect that is not suggestive of a "nice guy."

I previously broke down a delusional male fantasy in the Cinderella Effect (one that I think many of us gentlemen have been prone to). Seeing the above image, I couldn't help but try to debunk the current presentation of the Asshole Effect. It's a pervasive concept in our society - one that I have at times felt is a compelling one. However, if I am to look genuinely at the sample of the circle of the people I know, it is one that is ultimately hollow. In fact, I think it's often just an excuse for boys with no sense of responsibility or introspection to blame others for their own shortcomings. Here's my response:

There's some truth in a lot of things... but often not enough to bank on. Fixing oneself on concepts like this can only add to one's problems. Is it true that women can be attracted to assholes? Yes. Is it true that men are often attracted to assholes? Yes. The girls in the above photo will probably end up with boys who match their personality. The boy who composed the photo above will probably end up alone.

It's easy to put the blame on external factors (like what women really want). We all, myself included, do so. It's the self-serving bias (I'm sure you could tell me more about this than I you). However, people tend to be severely lacking in introspection. In particular, people tend to ignore a) their side of the equation and b) their own expectations.

By ignoring their side of the equation, I mean people tend to expect a lot of others while not really critiquing themselves. Is it really the world that's gone and done them wrong, or is there something about the way they behave toward or interact with people that is contributing to their fortunes (and I'm not talking about "Oh, I am too nice" here)? Perhaps they spend too much time wallowing about how stupid the opposite sex is and composing photos "for the lulz", discrediting the way they act entirely. Maybe they're not actually so nice?

By ignoring their own expectations, I mean that in the same way they might think the opposite sex is attracted to questionable qualities, they themselves are attracted to similar qualities. These qualities might include attractiveness, hipness, party culture, or laughter in the face do danger. They might be attracted to someone on the basis of money or with the end goal of getting laid. While some of these qualities may not be negative, they may not match the seeker's own qualities - essentially they're emphasizing the wrong qualities, qualities which are not compatible with their own. "Oh, why does that girl I like who likes to party all the time like all those party animal boys?" Gee, I wonder...

People also tend to over-emphasize their own strengths. These may include attractiveness and hipness or maybe just niceness. Being unaware of our own qualities can be as devastating as being ignorant to the incompatibility of another's qualities. If all I do is chase Jessica Alba around all day, I'm likely to be disappointed all the time. The logical conclusion is that girls are stupid and value status over awesomeness, because I am awesome and Jessica Alba is definitely in my league both socially and in terms of attractiveness. Oh yes, and we also have so much in common! Right...

Now, I'm not saying that finding a compatible individual is easy. That's the hard part, and it can take years. I'm saying that people tend to target lots of incompatible individuals, and then blame the opposite sex in general for those incompatibilities, leading to interesting statements like the one above. People would do better if they paid more attention to themselves. Then, roll with the punches until you come out on top. In the end, there only needs to be one.

Of course, for me, the one is Sandlot. Hopefully I'm not an asshole!


Joyce said...

I'm impressed you wrote such an in-depth commentary based on a meme lol! I agree with your views here. Unfortunately, people blaming external factors instead of their own shortcomings is all too common...

xonoellox said...

Look up the song "nice guys" on youtube..
its sadly true for some girls.