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Spot The Alpha And The Beta

Submitted by a reader, subtitled “New Year’s Eve, 1969″.

This photo, besides being awesome, is also subversively illustrative of sexual dynamics and of how we are evolutionarily wired to react in a standardized way to simple body language cues for information about potential competitors and potential mates.

What’s your first thought? If you were like most men *and* women, you autonomically assigned the value BETA to the man snuggling into his woman for a feeding, and the value ALPHA to the man sitting up with his woman nestled in his chest.

Take a moment to digest your subconscious reaction. Never mind that we don’t know the actual status of the relationships for these two couples. Ask yourself why, instead, you felt the emotions you did. And why what you felt is so similar to what everyone else, including manboobs and feminists, felt.

The characters in this snapshot of sexual polarity are similarly dressed and similarly attractive. Even their facial expressions — sleepy, passed out (perhaps), and neutral — don’t tell us much. The only real difference is the posture of each person. That’s what the viewer has to go on to make his instant assessment of each person’s sexual market value. And yet we don’t hesitate to assess; nor do we grope for the right assessment. It jumps out at us.

And what is that assessment? One man’s relationship is going up that escalator. The other man’s is going down.


PS Looks like a bunch of fun-loving ruffians slip n’ slid down the escalator’s fast track and got painfully acquainted with its metal protrusions. Not that I would know anything about pulling such stunts.


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