The blog where I rant about things that should be obvious to everyone

Monday, October 3, 2011

Accidental Alpha

When I still in school, before I knew anything about game, I was visiting my friend Ishmael back home over Christmas break. At the time he was renting a house with some other guys, one of whom I found out owned his very own gorilla suit. It was the best costume that I had ever seen, covering the whole body, with a fake gorilla head and everything. Being the 6'3” broad shouldered beast that I both was and am, the suit did not fit me. Ishmael on the other hand could get right in it. It was just to great a suit to not use, so I had to think of something. Prior to being shown the gorilla suit our plans had just been to rent a movie and hang out. So in the interest of using it right then, before I went back to school, Ishmael and I came to an agreement. After exchanging some “I will if you will” type pacts it was decided that he would wear the suit to the video store and I would lead him with a rope looped around his neck. If anyone looked at us funny in the store I was to lead him over to them and ask “Would you like to touch my monkey” after which he would offer them his hand.

At the store itself most people avoided eye contact. I think that we only actually went up to 2 groups, one middle aged couple, that was not that amused, and one lone attractive girl. As we were browsing the new releases moving slowly around the outer wall, we found ourselves in the same general space as her. She looked over at us bemused, and as per our pack, I walked right up to her maintaining eye contact and asked “Would you like to touch my monkey?” She laughed as she shook Ishmael's gorilla clad hand, and then instead of moving on as I was planning on doing, she started up a conversation. She was trying to find common ground at first asking what kind of movies we liked. And then she said something like “You know I bet my dog would really like you.” Now I really don't like changing my plans after I've made them, and so I was wanting to get on with our evening and spend time hanging out with Ishmael before I had to go back to school. So as she was trying to start up a conversation I was trying to disengage without being rude. As she was talking I was switching between looking at her to browsing over movies on the rack in front of me. Eventually we were able to get away and went on to watch a movie and share a few laughs before I had to leave. As we got out of the store into the parking lot we let out the laughter that we'd been holding in. We couldn't believe how much attraction had been generated while purposefully acting like annoying jackasses.

It wasn't till much later after reading about game theory that what happened started to make sense. The first thing that we were doing was peacocking. That is we were dressed in a way intended to draw attention. Secondly under the additional social presser of peacocking, by making the agreement to walk up to people and ask them if they wanted to touch my monkey, we demonstrated social dominance. If we had not done that and instead avoided eye contact and slunk away from people who looked funny at us, then it would have been less attractive than if we had done nothing at all. Finally, by being genuinely disinterested in actually picking anyone up, I naturally had alpha body language. The end result was that it was actually awkward not to go for the insta-date either by asking her to come watch a movie with us or inviting ourselves to her place to watch and meet her dog.

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