Friday, 9 September 2011

Predatory Males

I have always been slightly bewildered by the term "predatory male" to describe a man who is enthusiastic in desiring (and proactive in attempting to secure) sexual relations with a woman. A predator, in my understanding, is a creature that hunts and eats another creature; the result is that the eaten creature always dies. This metaphor seems at best a little extreme when applied to a man who simply is willing to exert energy and brainpower in order to persuade a woman to jump into bed with him. Romance is supposedly the prelude to the pounce. And yet I have never witnessed a lion taking a zebra out for a candle-lit meal.

It is often said that the writer H.G. Wells was a predatory male. There seems to be a general consensus that this is true. Really? Let's take a look at him compared with a cheetah. Forgive me if I lack imagination but I can't picture Mr Wells reaching speeds of between 112 and 120 km/h in short bursts over the African savannah, accelerating from 0 to over 100 km/h in three seconds. I can't even picture him attaining 20 km/h on his way to a newsagent's in Bromley. Would Wells even have been capable of catching a young fleet-of-foot woman, let alone an impala? I doubt it. I do, however, recommend his books, including his unjustly neglected later works such as Mr Blettsworthy on Rampole Island, The Autocracy of Mr Parham and the especially marvellous Christina Alberta's Father...

Another point: a cheetah has an average killing success of 50%. This compares unfavourably with the wild dog's average of 80% but favourably with a lion's average of 30%; a tiger's average may be as low as 10%. Now let's consider the success rate of the so-called "predatory male". In my life, like almost all men throughout history, I have chased women. I have managed to entice a certain number into bed (it would be tasteless to specify an exact figure; let's just say that it's a positive integer that equals twice the sum of its decimal digits). If we divide the number of women I have attempted to get into bed with by the number I have succeeded in getting into bed, my success rate is 0.00375%. Any true predator with such an abysmal average would surely evolve into a herbivore!

So let's drop this unhappy phrase, "predatory male". Let us simply speak of "normal males" or just "males".