Thank My Lucky Stars: Technology for Male Bonding

Here's a brief history of the technology of communication off the top of my head. Morse code was invented in the early 1800s after electricity is developed. People can communicate important things, like the movement of soldiers to help generals stay informed. In the late 1800s, the telephone started to be developed, which changed communication forever. Of course the first uses were expensive and were reserved for important things like the birth of a child etc. But as costs became cheaper, telephone conversations became more mundane.

My mind immediately jumps to the 1950s in the hey-day of suburban America: the creation of soap operas, the safe but boring suburban neighborhoods, and stay at home moms. What were women to do at home? Cheat on their husbands? Well maybe they could... but all other men were also at work. So what to do? Pick up the telephone and call the other women in the neighborhood to gossip and pass the time. Now I realize that there is a valuable female social bonding component to gossip, even though I think most of the time it's negative for society and a waste of one's energies to listen and propagate. I just know that pretty much every female I know likes engaging in it. It makes them happy. It's important for females to share their knowledge and emotions, as it makes them feel loved. But I am not a woman, so I don't understand it.

Jump to the late 1990s when the internet started being "normal" and not only for nerds and pedophiles. Talking with friends became totally different. Instead of three-waying on the phone, it was way easier to chat on AIM. And it became easier to talk to girls. I was a shy 13 year old, but internet chatting helped me break the ice. BUT guys never really talk to guys, unless there's something important to discuss like homework or plans for the weekend. I don't think I've ever asked a guy online: "how's your day going?"

So how do guys bond? Sure they talk about serious things... like once a year. Otherwise bonding remains in two realms: the comical and the physical. Guys easily bond through joking and busting of balls (whereas busting of ovaries is likely to lead to resentment). The physical bonding is obvious. We value competition and teamwork. It makes us feel accomplished to win, and it's more fun when we win with our friends.

Introducing: internet gaming in the mid 2000s. Finally technology allows males to bond at long distance (about a century after females took advantage of the telephone). Playing Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 in the 90s was a bonding experience, but you had to go over to a friend's house. It wasn't that convenient. But with high speed internet becoming more common, you could play games with your friends from your own homes. I believe this is why Counter-Strike became so popular. When I was a freshman in HS, literally 50-75% of guys at my HS played CS. Why was it so popular?

With games like CS and Battlefield, guys can compete while using teamwork. It's the same mental stimulation like playing basketball together. So next time you girls think guys are senselessly playing video games, they aren't. I may not understand why women gossip, but I know why. You may not understand our video games, but now you know why.


J.Frosty said...

yeah, leave our entertaining ways of bonding alone!

you forgot navy semaphore and before that the flaming arrow into the sky lol

Bryan said...

my dear colleague, my thesis was intended to be a brief survey of communications in the age of electricity. Why I suppose I could write a treatise on the importance of ancient communications, such as the flaming arrow into the sky or the beating of drums, but it would require much too much scrolls of papyrus.

Khorn said...

And smoke signals!!!

v-man said...

so good!!!! Nearly moved me to tears