September 29, 2009

Girls compete in such funny ways

We laugh when we see two meatheads flexing not so subtly in front of each other, the one observing the other to size him up. "Who would win in a fight?" they're thinking, but it all looks rather gay to us.

I saw something similar today, only between two girls. It wasn't brute strength they were competing over -- I wasn't on the DC metro's green line -- but instead how cute and seductive they could make their voices. One of the girls who works at Starbucks always uses an over-the-top raspy-girly voice, hoping to fool the guys into thinking that, like, dude, she totally digs them. She's not dumb: most surely are suckered.

Well, today some teenager came in and ordered her drink in an even cuter voice. Not to be outdone, the barista asked her some unnecessary question about whether she wanted this or that as well -- just to signal that, when it came to the imaginary hunk they were fighting over, her voice would hook his attention better. And just like those two bespandexed guidos pacing around each other in the gym, they went back and forth a couple times before deciding that they'd gathered enough vocal information. It was a pretty close fight, but I'd give the win to the teenager. (The barista is cute too, and only 21, but she met her match today, at least voice-wise.)

I've seen girls get nastily competitive face-to-face before -- seeing who can flip their hair the hardest, or who can give the most pitying look at what the other is wearing. And I've seen girls both ratchet up their cuteness when they're actively flirting with the same guy, or sense that they're being watched by a large audience. But this time the guy wasn't even there, just as the girl who the gym rats are trying to impress isn't there judging their performance. It was the first time I'd seen a purely hypothetical cuteness contest -- just to see who would win.

It's no wonder that when they've grown up, women are such emotional trainwrecks: in almost every competition they've ever fought in, they couldn't simply tear the other bitch apart (verbally or physically), but had to smile and out-cute their opponent -- and to do so effortlessly, lest her strained smile or barely concealed sarcasm reveal her anger and thereby undo her feminine facade.


  1. The difference between a meaningless flex-off and a meaningless cute-off is that a flirty voice is a much more useful skill (?) for a girl to have than large biceps are for a guy. I've found all things being equal nice muscles help but not nearly as much as social status. I guess you could say the stakes were higher in the confrontation you witnessed.

  2. Wow, Dusk in Autumn actually... empathizing with some of the shit that females have to go through?

    The end must surely be nigh.

  3. Empathizing -- figuring out what it must feel like -- is easy because I have strong social and emotional intuition.

    Sympathizing -- sharing in their feelings myself -- I find almost impossible, unless it's an Old Yeller or Bridge to Terabithia event.

    You can be understanding and callous at the same time. Most male writers are like that when it comes to the lives of women.

  4. Women are far more competitive than guys. One of the first things I learned post nice guy.

    Also, remember the fact that women dress mostly for other women not for guys.

    - Breeze

  5. Jokah: Biceps aren't a "skill", but they are useful if you're looking to hit the bar scene. Why? Because size and intimidation matter. If you're 6'4 and 230 pounds, you can cockblock a smooth-talking gamester on size alone. Just step in front of him. What is he going to do? What can the girl do? You may not get the girl, but the guy can do nothing without looking like a fool.

    It's not about bodily aesthetics though, nor is it about physical violence. (If you get in a fight, you both lose. You don't get the girl, might get hurt, and may end up in legal trouble.) It's about physical dominance and imposition, and it's more useful on the bar scene to have large biceps (for a man) than a cute voice (for a woman).

    Still, hilarious post. Good field work.


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