Handicap Principle in The Avengers

My younger sister went to see the billion dollar romp against her will recently. She returned with a pretty accurate pysch-assessment of why the movie has become so popular. She said, “I enjoyed it because I got to watch absurdly buff guys and closeups on their hot faces.”

Fair enough assessment of Hollywood today, don’t you think?

Take a step back and consider the evolutionary-biology theory of the handicap principle, in particular this part:

The central idea is that sexually selected traits function like conspicuous consumption, signalling the ability to afford to squander a resource simply by squandering it. 

Rich and powerful people buy larger boats, faster cars, bigger houses, more stuff, and even more stuff as simple display of squandering cash. Its the same reason why hiding your gold in a can in the backyard is frowned upon. Money is a great demonstration of value if its being squandered and not saved. I digress.

The theory of the handicap principle arises when imagining how grown men can afford to act out fantasy roles and spend months on end disconnected from reality. A typical 9-5 herb has to work every day, whereas the alpha movie star technically has to “work” every day. See the distinction?

In an actor’s case, the handicap principle works because actors have the freedom to ‘be’ any role they want, while the vast majority of men have no choice but to lay their stakes in just one grounded identity. The actor as a person gets to be a superhero, soldier, socialite, gangster, politician, rich guy, poor guy, etc. The high school quarterback turned owner of a landscaping company gets his one path- in lawn decoration.

The game takeaway is closely related to Heartiste’s 9th commandment:

IX. Connect with her emotions

Set yourself apart from other men and connect with a woman’s emotional landscape. Her mind is an alien world that requires deft navigation to reach your rendevous. Frolic in the surf of emotions rather than the arid desert of logic. Be playful. Employ all your senses. Describe in lush detail scenarios to set her heart afire. Give your feelings freedom to roam. ROAM. Yes, that is a good word. You’re not on a linear path with her. You are ROAMING all over, taking her on an adventure. In this world, there is no need to finish thoughts or draw conclusions. There is only need to EXPERIENCE. You’re grabbing her hand and running with her down an infinite, labyrinthine alleyway with no end, laughing and letting your fingers glide on the cobblestone walls along the way.

A man who has the imaginative ability to invent stories or realities that draw women in is more valuable attractive than the man who desperately clings to one reality.

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