The male brain and how it works — or doesn’t:...
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May 14, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

The male brain and how it works — or doesn’t: Coyle

As a way of explaining — not excusing — the behaviour of idiotic men, let’s consider how the matter between their ears is wired


None but a fool would wade into Toronto’s #FHRITP uproar to offer any sort of explanation of male idiocy. So it’s only logical the wader will have to be a man.

As the proud owner of four sons and three brothers, having spent a lifetime on and around fields, rinks and sports, and having observed and marvelled at the male brain (such as it is) at work, here goes:

Ever since several young Toronto men disgraced themselves — and brought employers down on their heads — by verbally abusing a TV reporter after a recent TFC soccer game, the question from women has been: “What were they thinking? How can men be such orifices?” Or words to that effect.

By way of explanation — repeat: explanation, not excuse — the following might be considered:

Neurology: Male and female brains are different from conception. Testosterone is what Dr. Louann Brizendine called in her book The Male Brain “king of the male hormones.” High levels of testosterone increase aggression.

Context: The reporter wasn’t standing outside a Toastmasters convention. Soccer games the world over are traditionally tribal, primal, ultra-macho affairs. Clubs encourage it. By definition and design, passions are meant to stirred, patrons encouraged to be rabid. What’s disgorged back into the streets, drenched in biochemical bravado, may not be entirely rational.

Alcohol: Those leaving a game might also not be entirely sober. Alcohol is a depressant. It numbs the brain. First to be deadened is the most recently learned — manners, social graces. Any woman at an office party knows that restraint can vanish and the ogling, propositioning, groping begin by the second martini.

Peer pressure/contagiousness of moods: Crowds have their own dynamic. “The situations we are in, and particularly the people around us, hold sway over our thoughts and behaviours more than we like to imagine,” wrote Michael Bond in The Power of Others. Group dynamics occur beneath our conscious radar, he said. For young males in groups, so too does the imperative to outrank other males in the pecking order. “Ya think that’s crude, buddy, just watch this.”

The cultural times: There has always been an impulse, especially among young males, to flout convention. In all kinds of ways, our times reward the outrageous. Who goes viral? Not a routine wedding, but the one in which the bride and groom and attendants boogie up the aisle. Breaking taboos, scandalizing sensibilities is what brings fame or notoriety. And the ante always has to be upped.

Immaturity: All over the place, young men are being told to “man up!” More rarely are they shown, in tenderness or vulnerability, what it means to be one. If their guide is popular culture, well, as Peter Silverton wrote in Filthy English: The How and Why of Everyday Swearing “The Sopranos and The Wire would both be lesser affairs without their constant profanity, blasphemy and obscenity.”

The prevailing norm: Young men live in a world where they saw a soccer star bite — actually bite! — another man during a World Cup soccer game last year and resume his star-spangled career as if nothing happened.

The male sense of humour: According to former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, in her book Why Women Should Run the World, research shows that men use a less sophisticated process than women to determine if things are funny. This explains The Three Stooges and flatulence jokes. “It doesn’t take a lot of analytical machinery to think someone getting poked in the eye is funny,” she was told by researcher Dr. Allan Reiss.

Which, in the end, answers the questions.

What were these particular orifices thinking?


Toronto Star

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(1) Comment

By veryoldguy | MAY 15, 2015 12:18 PM
"Stupid is as stupid does". - Forrest Gump
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