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.