The Phoenix

Friday, May 12, 2006

Risky Business

It's ain't easy...bein' manly.

It seems even before conception, the male species is always at risk...if only the strong survive rules, it seems females are are at the top of the chain. Sperm carrying the female chromosomes survive easier than the male ones. Mortality rates among female fetuses is also lower. And of course, women live longer than men do.

Why is that?

Dr. Daniel Kruger of the University of Michigan has been taking a genetic, psychological, behavioral, and social look as to why being a man seems to be much more dangerous. His paper, "Evolution and Mortality Patterns" is being presented to the journal Human Nature later this month. In it, he investigates several theories as to the mystery of male mortality. To sum it up: competing for females can physcially wear down or kill a man. And this isn't exclusive to HUMAN males either.

Even in chimpanzees, Dr. Kruger found that the mortality rate peaks at age 13 - just at a time when males are competing for females and for social status. Just think about it for a second - from two bucks slamming into each other for the right to "get busy" with a doe, to the elementary school playground where two boys are wrestling in order to show off for the attention of the cute blond...males are constantly entering in risky behavior in order to not only show dominance, but to win the love of a female.

In early caveman days, men had to bring home the biggest kill or literally beat the crap out of fellow suitors to vie for the privledge of gaining a mate. These days, that same competition exists but just in a different form. Instead of showing off killing a wooly mammoth, men fight for the blingy bling-bling - guys will drive expensive SUVs, wear the nicest watch, and battle it out on the corporate ladder.

"Men compete for resources and social status, which are critera men are valued for in mate selection," Kruger reported.

Simply put, in order to impress women, men still will engage in dangerous and risky behavior. Also, competing and striving to climb up the social status ladder puts pressures and adversely affects men's health and lifespan. And going back to the chimpanzee study, the peak for participating in risky behavior is in young male adulthood. In the old days, young guys were able to show their prowess during warfare. These days, young men find other ways to place their lives at risk in order to compete for women's attention.

(By the way, HALF of the football fans packing stadiums across the country are WOMEN).

In fact, 3 young men die for every 1 young woman that dies, on average.

These risky behaviors include smoking, heavy drinking, reckless driving, stupid physical stunts, and violence. After studying the data of men from 70 different countries, Dr. Kruger noticed that men of lower social status lacking a mate were much more likely to engage in these reckless behavior patterns.

On the other side of that, personally I've seen many financially successful men turn to smoking, drinking, and drug use due to the pressures of competing in the world of social status. Although Dr. Kruger's findings are logical, since men that lack such resources then have to "show off" more in order to compete for women.

Or maybe they're depressed they're still living in their parents' basements???

So my question is, who's the lady stuntman/illusionist David Blaine is trying to impress?


Blogger KC said...

Wow! You mean my hubby sweated, toiled, and acted like an overactive boy just to win the affection of a lazy, bon-bon eating girl like me? I think I got the better end of the deal!

5/12/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger cube said...

I think Blaine is mentally ill. He has a severe need to be noticed.

5/12/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger Green Eyes said...

I couldn't watch him under water like that.

And, I have an older brother, less than 1 yr difference b/t us, so I was around him and his friends a lot.

You guys do stupid, reckless acts all the time, even when no available women are around! Want to explain that? Or is it just you guys needing to practice? LOL

5/12/2006 12:21 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

KC, I'm sure you are VERY much worth it.

cube, I agree. The guy is a nut-job. He should stick to his street magic from a couple years ago. NOW THAT was cool stuff.

green eyes, That's a case of guy's trying to figure out pecking order. It's a case of duking it out amongst each other to be the Alpha Male.

5/12/2006 12:33 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I just sit around licking my eyebrows. It is safer.

5/12/2006 12:44 PM  
Blogger crallspace said...

Good article... and sorry I've been absent. Time to put you in my blogs of note.

Being married, I don't feel the need to impress. I learned young that females were finnicky and flakey so I never went out of my way or exascerbated myself for them. I did do plenty of something else that rhymed with that word.

5/12/2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger AnonymousCoworker said...

Blaine doesn't want the attention of women. He just wants the attention of that guy in the mirror.

5/12/2006 1:22 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

"Sperm carrying the female chromosomes survive easier than the male ones"

not that I do not believe absolutely everything you blog, but if the above is true why are there about equal numbers of boy and girl babies?

is this more of your whining about blogroll updating the female blogs first and doing you last??? :)

5/12/2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger Phats said...

David Blaine is an idiot, and needs his head examined.

Interesting read ;)

5/12/2006 1:54 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Fuzz, I had to think about that one for a little bit...the visual freaked me out.

Crallspace, No worries. I like your blog because it makes me think. What rhymes with exascerbate anyway? Hmm...

Anonymous, You are very right. He's a self lover. He probably exascerbates in front of the mirror too.

jim, Even female blogs seem to get updated faster. Geez. Overall, the percentage is about even. HOWEVER, the birth rates of boys has been falling significantly in the US, Canada, Germany, and other developed nations. Scientists believe environmental factors play a big part, and adverse environmental influences seem to be affecting boy fetal development more than girls.

Also, with the advent of science lending a helping hand to couples that have difficulty conceiving, WAY more girls are being born via these semi-natural methods.

phats, He said this was his last stunt, as his body has been physcially weakened severelly. His doctors told him to stop.

5/12/2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

"Even female blogs seem to get updated faster." LMAO.
I always new us women were better.

I agree with cube David Blane is a little "Odd" - he reminds me of Jacko for some reason.

5/12/2006 2:12 PM  
Blogger Mojotek said...

I always knew this was the case... damn women are the cause of all our problems!

5/12/2006 2:32 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

pixie, It's really SO GOOD to see you back on here. Now give WP a break!

mojo, Man - I tell you. We don't have it so easy, but I can't imagine what childbirth is like. So maybe everything evens out in the end.

5/12/2006 3:04 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

we can go do stupid ass stunts for awhile if you'd like to try out childbirth Phoenix. no problemo :-)

5/12/2006 4:41 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

I don't think I ever tried to impress any woman much. My wife asked me out. I was to shy to ask her and if I hadn't then I would still be single and just listening to heavy metal, eating junk food and watching bad horror movies. Oh, wait none of that has changed except for the single part.

5/12/2006 5:44 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

One of my professors said that a person's blood pressure doesn't go down once they've earned success, in fact it elevates when they become successful. He says up until that point there was nothing to lose, so for the most part heart rate and blood pressure remained normal. Once they earned the success and realized what it took to get there, the blood pressure goes up and stays up.

5/12/2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

kyahgirl, thanks. I'll stick to idiotic behavior.

metal mark, Sometimes - the best things come to those that wait...and sit on the couch eating junk food.

angel jr., So true. The more success and money you make, the harder things can become. Not only do you have to maintain, but now there's pressure to exceed.

Ignorance is bliss.

5/12/2006 7:09 PM  
Anonymous delmer said...

I want to see David Blaine drive a mini van with a 3-year old, 5-year old and 6-year old boy down the highway for 8 hours ... keeping them all happy ... without ANYBODY screaming.

Then I'll be impressed.

5/12/2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Blaine is a moron.

As far as I am conerned, men are doing it to themselves. We women don't require men to have their macho competitions with each other to beat other suitors. There are some exceptions, but come on guys. Your smarter than that.

Well, on second thought.... ;)

5/12/2006 9:36 PM  
Blogger Karen said...


5/12/2006 9:45 PM  
Blogger phred said...

This Blaine fellow...Where does he poop ?? That water looks pretty clean to me.

It is a fact that women own most of the land in the state of Texas.
Must be because they live longer.
''Here Dear, let me light your cigarette for you. Would you like another drink''?

Ya`ll have a nice day.

5/12/2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger Etchen said...

I'm not sure exactly why, but David Blane just bothers me to no end and just gets under my skin. I too think he is metally disturbed.

5/13/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

delmer, Blaine would probably start to cry and then wet himself.

mimi, There's a whole lot still imbedded into our genes - and these behaviors served the human race well for thousands of years. The modern female is quite capable of taking care of herself...that's for sure. But the pressure and burden of providing for his family is still a very real phenomena in every single culture on the face of the Earth.

karen, I think I've gone deaf now.

phred, Killing me softly.

etchen, You know - I really thought his street magic was so cool. Just walking up to regular people on the street and showing them kick ass, close-up magic tricks is entertaining to watch. The stupid stunts...not so much.

5/13/2006 1:04 PM  
Blogger The Valley Girl Philosopher said...

What a brutal existence men must live. Totally! Chicks have a way more awesome time - especially valley girls. We don't compete, we just have to lay back and let the world garnish us with all of its awesomeness. And when I say "lay back" I mean "lay back". For sure!

5/13/2006 1:27 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

guy in gall ball: how come the water didn't turn at least yellow, was he holding more than his breadth

5/13/2006 1:44 PM  
Blogger Grafs said...

Blaine may impress some lady, but as soon as he puts his peeling icky pruney hands on her, it's over...

5/13/2006 3:24 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

At the rate he's going, David Blaine may not live much longer. I think he's brain damaged. Trying to break the record for holding his breath was okay; that is kinda cool. Staying in that globe of water was just stupid. I think he has a death wish.

Females have a pretty rigrous time in life too. We have to keep cellulite, wrinkles and fat at bay, and we have to compete with the Victoria's Secret models. We lose against them, of course, because we don't have the ability to airbrush ourselves in real life.
I think we outlive guys because we were created second. God had a do-over, and made some improvements. :)

5/13/2006 6:28 PM  
Anonymous starbender said...

I think Blaine did it 4 the money!
2 million for 4 stunts. That was the first one! 3 to go.
~~~so, Is he a moron? Would U act like a moron 4 two mil???

I might!

fuzz~ That would do it hon!!!

5/13/2006 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Great post! I will have to check out that paper as its right up my alley!

I read a study from Britan stating that men (in bars) will place cell phones or other electronic gadgets in plain sight, whereas women usually keep them in their purse. Its a lot like birds with nice feathers.

Women compete just as much as men do though, we are just more subtle. Check out "Survival of the Prettiest" By Nancy Etcoff. I actually wrote a paper on high heels and how they give women a sexual advantage over their peers.

The problem with a woman wanting a "dangerous risk taker" as a mate is that he may eventually get killed, which from an evolutionary perspective isn't good when one is relying on that man to provide food and protection while gestating or taking care of infants. Now, sperm donor, thats a different story. Hence your previous posts about women more likely to cheat when they are most fertile. The dichotomy is that women want the best provider - who will stay with her, protect her and her offspring, but she ALSO wants the best genes for her offspring to ensure their survival.

Boys, even as children will engage in competition type activities, always seeking to "one up" everyone where women engage in team building activities, games and such where there is co-operation more than competition. Is it nature or nurture? I think it's nature.

Jim - Rates of miscarriage are higher when a woman is carrying a boy (the stat is like 75% higher, however men do produce more Y sperm to balance this a bit). An XX baby (female) has less risk of getting an "X" linked deleterious trait (ie: deadly or even one that shortens the life span - Fragile X syndrome for instance), there really is nothing on the Y gene except for coding of the enzyme responsible for triggering the hormones at about week 8 to develop the fetus into a boy vs a girl (which, BTW the default sex among humans is case you were wondering which came first. LOL!). So, long story short, there are no dominant or recessive genes on the Y sex chromosome to counter any passed along on the X gene, which is always passed on by the female of course. And there may be an equal amount of boys and girls born (the ratio is about 49:51), as children age, the numbers go out of balance, go look at the old folks home.

I've got so much useless information in my head. You know I just purge it here right??

5/13/2006 10:03 PM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

I love the pictures as well! :o)

5/14/2006 12:38 AM  
Anonymous AndrewE said...

Nice post Phoenix. A man's work is never done..."yeah right" I hear the women say!

How bland a genderless world would be, and yet it seems we're heading in that direction.

5/14/2006 2:37 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

valleygirl, Like, totally! Thanks for coming by.

jim, If so - then he's now got my respect.

grafs, I heard about that. That's why he was wearing the gloves later on. I hope he's got lots of skin lotion.

JD, A do-over? That would explain SO much.

starbender, There isn't a whole lot I wouldn't do for $2MM.

jennifer, Whenever I post about this topic, I can't wait to see what you write. I love it!
Women definitely compete, but it's not nearly as dangerous. Although from watching Springer and Maury, times are-a-changin'.
Women will settle with a great provider and good father, but will cheat with an alpha male. Women not in settling down mode is drawn to the "bad boys" that do engage in risky behavior, and the future "great husbands" are usually stuck as the woman's plutonic friend. I'm speaking very generally here.
The thing is, socially and culturally, women are much more empowered. The beginning of the end of such a dependence on males began with the birth control pill. And now it's with increased financial power.
BUT - the ingrained behavior is still within us, as it helped our species survive.
You know, if you ever want to guest post on this topic - I would love to have you on here.

jon, Thanks buddy!

andrewe, I think with all this movement and talk about gender equality - we are still always going to have these gender tendencies and such.
For example, women want equal treatment at work? NO. They want equal pay - but I can't joke with a woman at work the same way I do with a man. I'd find myself either with a sexual harassment lawsuit, or at the very least sensitivity classes.
Despite what a growing number of women say - they still like having the door opened for them, or men rising when they leave the table.
I don't think gender differences are going away anytime soon.

5/14/2006 8:00 AM  
Blogger Rocky said...

I appreciate you providing the scientific evidence that we men practically kill ourselves to please our ladies.
We also kill ourselves trying to impress each other doing stupid stunts, etc.
My guess is the latter on Blaine. He belongs to some sort of magician fraternity and is a chronic one-upper when it comes to crazy stunts.

5/14/2006 9:44 AM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

Thank you so much for your comment! :o) I appreciate it so much, I'm so glad I stayed true as well! Thank you so much!!

5/14/2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger vani said...

I'm guessing DB wants to be remembered, wants to reach celeberty status for doing the stupid things he does....only it's not working. He's going to be remembered as the idiot to tried too hard.

5/14/2006 8:57 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

**Sperm carrying the female chromosomes survive easier than the male ones.

aww thats sad...:)


5/15/2006 2:04 AM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Did I inspire this post?

5/15/2006 10:15 AM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

What about alpha males vs. beta males? Have there been any studies to determine whether the life expectancies of beta males are greater or less than the life expectancies of alpha males?

5/15/2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger LostInTX said...

I think you should do a post on the things women do to impress men. Some tend to think we go to almost as much trouble to impress you guys. Also, aren't we "allegedly" also to blame for your drinking and smoking AFTER you have us? Seems we can never win.. lol.

5/15/2006 5:04 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Lots of fantastic ideas for future posts! It seems the biology behind what we do is a fascinating topic.

5/17/2006 10:39 AM  
Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

I can't believe that I survied my own childhood! When I was a kid I did the stupidest things to be "cool." In other words, so chicks would dig me. Of course David Blane is just stupid because no body thinks he's cool.

5/23/2006 5:02 PM  

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