In an odd way, they're actually better at playing single than the actual single guys.
Not at all. In fact, he was quite clear that this has nothing to do with flirting or relationships in any way. It is simply that female approval is a huge factor in social status. Men instinctively view other men as more powerful, more competent, and respect them more if a women asks him a question instead of asking one of the other dozen men. There is nothing sexual about it, relationship status doesn't matter at all.
I was responding to the idea that being single or not has some effect on the scenario. Flirting (whether deniable or not) is neither exclusive to single people, nor required to affect the social status of men you interact with.
>It's foolish to assert that female approval matters, but darn it, no one knows why!
It is foolish to assert that the universe exists, but darn it, no one knows why! We observe things, then we develop hypotheses to try to figure out why they are as they are. Then we test those hypotheses to see if they are accurate. The observation does not cease to exist simply because there are no hypotheses that have made it to proven theory.
>In my experience, female approval matters because of the perception of sexual and romantic prowess that it grants to the receiver, especially in the eyes of other men
That may well be the case at a subconscious level. But that doesn't go away because any or all of the people involved are in relationships. I have been married for over a decade. I do not actively seek the attention of women as a result of this fact, but I still treat them the same way, and they are still able to coerce me into doing what they want even though both of us are fully aware that there will be no sex rewards happening.
Agreed. I'm lucky to work with men who don't seem to be looking for any extramarital dalliances, and our interactions reflect that. Being friendly and warm--what many would consider flirting--isn't required to affect the social status of those I interact with, but it can certainly help. And I think that's something that many people in a monogamous relationship learn to suppress, for various reasons.
I'm pretty sure that random female co-workers can't actually coerce you into doing anything that you don't want to do. More likely, they're just better at persuading you to do something, and this could be attributed to women having better-developed social skills (without having to hypothesize some kind of "female approval" dynamic).
Why is inventing something that makes no sense "women have better social skills" a good plan, but a well known observation "women's social interactions confer social status on men" bad? What social skills are women using to get the men in the office to carry boxes of paper? Do you seriously think a man could just practice socializing really hard and suddenly be able to ask another man to do that and have it work?
Oh, I think male approval is a huge factor in social status too. Indeed, I hear a lot of complaints from women in tech that seem based on that premis... ;-)