Sociology and anthropology are interesting fields — studying and explaining human behavior individually, in groups, and culturally is a huge task with rewarding results. However, I think these fields are lacking in certain keys ways: primarily, they give humans too much credit by viewing them as beings with agency and dignity. I’d like to see a field of study that objectified human beings to the point of studying us as the animals we are.
The number of attractive women I’ve seen on CMU campus nearly doubled tonight because I encountered a “pootie alliance.” A bit of context first: Carnegie Mellon is a wasteland when it comes to attractiveness. Attractive people here are few and far between, to the point that I’ve actually counted the number of women I find attractive on campus since last Fall. I hadn’t broken double digits until tonight.
Why tonight, you ask? Because I ran across an interesting social (and group biological) phenomenon tonight: a pootie alliance. An entire group of good looking girls — at least five or six, complete with one homely chick to make them look better by comparison. It’s so formulaic and predictable that it’s barely believable; I’m willing to wager the majority of you have observed a pootie alliance in the past month.
It’s amazing that fully grown human beings with (arguably) fully functional brains could be so under the sway of unseen and systematic psychological and biological influences. It’s no coincidence at all that attractive women flock together like this — it’s a clear-cut mating strategy. The amazing thing, however, is that they are completely unaware that they are part of a pootie alliance in the first place. Think about how remarkable that is.
When most people assemble into a group of allies aimed at a specific purpose, they’re aware of the arrangement in some way. But the biological forces at sway in the group strategy of the pootie alliance is more subtle, playing themselves out in each member completely undetected. The group behavior is so specific and finely tuned that they even include an ugly chick so that they all look better by comparison! Two ugly chicks would be too much — they simply need a single reference point to further bolster their appeal.
I take the following to characterize the rationale: What’s better than a hot chick? Many hot chicks! What makes many hot chicks look even better? An ugly chick!
Again, I must stress: I don’t actually believe the members of the alliance hold a congress or something like that to decide that they need an ugly chick around. Rather, the behavior dynamic converges to these highly regularized, systematic results.
In classifying the social characteristics of higher primates, we need to classify the social characteristics of human beings as animals. Maybe I could write the foundational paper in this field.