I went to the “Package Tour” tonight: a concert involving the complete “package” of Boys II Men, 98º, and New Kids on the Block. Okay, so maybe that’s not why the word “package” was in the title.
In defense of my manhood, I went because NKOTB was the first concert my sister and I ever went to; I chaperoned her when I was 13. Although, if I’m being authentic, I also went because, yep, I fucking LOVE some of their songs.
I noticed something interesting about the concert, though. Words won’t do me justice, so to my right is a picture of the men’s bathroom that I took during the intermission. (The women’s room wasn’t quite so available.)
Let’s face it: the concert was 99%+ female. (I counted a grand total of fourteen men, including me, in a crowd of thousands.) But that’s not what’s interesting; such was fully expected. What amazed me was how unbelievably CONSIDERATE, ORDERLY, and COOPERATIVE the crowd was. Six beers in, ladies were still saying things like, “I’m sorry, can I squeeze by you?” Drunken men would have simply grunted and pushed their way through the crowd. It was nice to be among civilized people for a change.
Testosterone is the hormone of sex. In a cooperative and comfortable environment, it is also the hormone of desire, fascination, and passion, which is a good thing. But in a competitive environment, such as the modern sociosexual landscape, it is the hormone of aggression, frustration, and bar fights. Testosterone is the reason why it’s pretty much impossible to attend a social event involving more than ten people and not see some kind of melodrama or conflict. Testosterone is the chemical of desire – and when that desire is frustrated, it morphs into adrenaline. In the absence of sex, testosterone is too often the chemical of rudeness.
So to see 10,000+ testosterone-stunted humans dancing and singing together cooperatively was a wake-up call. I have never seen such a thing.
Don’t confuse the “Package Tour” with a Chippendales show. The concert had nothing to do with sex, an inherently testosterone-driven notion. John Knight is gay, Joey McIntyre brought his kid out on stage, and most of the artists they covered (George Michael, Queen, etc.) are/were gay. No. This was a group of fun, energetic, nostalgic people who were literally dancing for the sake of dancing, not because of some sexual goal at the end of the night. (To the men reading: yes, some people actually dance for fun. I know! Incredible!)
If you’ve never attended a large essentially all-female event, you won’t believe me. But here’s the honest-to-god truth: they were nice. And fun. And cordial. And there was no drama. They were like what humans would be if they could check their bullshit at the door.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not opposed to testosterone. I love it. I love sex and I love passion, both of which would disappear without that magic chemical, according to one of my favorite episodes of This American Life. What I’m opposed to is a world in which sex and passion are stigmatized, and the hungry must aggressively compete for slim pickings.
Here’s my question: how would the world look without sexual competitiveness?