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I think your theory hinges on the idea that most, if not all, of the players in this scenario are single. I work in a start-up environment with a bunch of men, but most of them are married or in a committed relationship. For what it's worth, I'm engaged. The whole "mysterious feminine influence" thing that you're talking about tends to disappear when people don't see you as a potential romantic/flirting partner. I think I'm seen as off-limits, especially because I try not to flirt with the guys in the office. At that point, it doesn't matter how attractive or competent I am. I'm seen as just another member of the team, and probably subconsciously devalued because of my gender.



I think this discussion is missing the fact that women are more likely to enforce social norms http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/06/women-enforce-norms.ht... Since the workforce at my company has included more women, there is less tolerance for behaviors that were common in the all-male workplace. Men with poor social skills were increasingly pushed out of leadership roles and/or replaced with more congenial employees. I don't think this is a bad thing at all- our clients are much happier, but it highlights the need in tech education to teach social skills. But it does threaten a "bro" culture that many people enjoyed as employees.

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Does getting married flip a biological switch that changes the male-female attraction? No. You might choose not to act on it, but body language, signalling etc. still remains.

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Yup. Marriage status may tweak the details of things like flirting, but certainly doesn't stop it in many cases. Some people even seem to flirt more after getting married, maybe because it feels safer (there's an obvious boundary).

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My experience exactly. Most of the guys at my job that are in a steady, committed relationship talk less about women in a romantic or sexual way, but flirt and interact more with women.

In an odd way, they're actually better at playing single than the actual single guys.

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>I think your theory hinges on the idea that most, if not all, of the players in this scenario are single

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.

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I apologize because I can't find the exact quote, but I believe Miss Manners said something to the effect of "Flirting, when done properly, means that both parties can claim they meant nothing by it." That's the flirting I speak of, the same sort of flirting/friendliness that was originally mentioned. It's foolish to assert that female approval matters, but darn it, no one knows why! It's just the way it is! 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. It's the idea of "Hey, she might sleep with that guy, under the right circumstances..." And that little sexual undercurrent is a huge part of your life when you're single.

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>That's the flirting I speak of, the same sort of flirting/friendliness that was originally mentioned

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.

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"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."

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.

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You lost me. His point only applies to single people because people in monogamous relationships have learned to suppress "being friendly"? I have not seen anything that would suggest that is true, I could not guess the relationship status of anyone in my office based on their friendliness.

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"[Women] 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."

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).

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>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?

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> It is simply that female approval is a huge factor in social status.

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... ;-)

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