The fundamental question of mate selection is this:
Why don’t more men volunteer at homeless shelters?
Women often say that they want a “kind man”. It’s one of the top requests, sometimes coming above physical attractiveness. My dictionary says that kindness is the act of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Synonyms for kindness include unselfish, altruistic, and benevolent. I would classify working at a homeless shelter or food pantry as a kind act, maybe one of the highest classes of kindness. Herein lies a problem. There are lots and lots of men at the gym, but not many men volunteering. When I go, it’s mostly women. Many times, I’m the only male working. This makes no rational sense. If women want kind men, and kind men volunteer, why don’t men volunteer? Why aren’t they full of men?
We might hypothesize that men generally don’t know about this desire. But men go to great lengths at the gym, remove chest hair, practice pickup lines, and take dance lessons, all to increase their standing with women. Additionally, I would consider the founders of match.com knowledgeable in the desires of dating singles. A profile on match.com has the astrological sign, and lots of turn-ons and turn-offs, but no area set aside for volunteer work or charity. They didn’t consider it necessary, because people haven’t asked for it. Alterntively, having no area would make sense if it was useful, but male volunteers found desirable women quickly, so they wouldn’t need to use Internet dating. From my anecdotal experience, and that of people I know, this does not seem to be the case. Besides, word would get around; other men would notice the volunteers with attractive wives and inquire about things. Then they would become volunteers, abandoning the dance classes and gyms. Imagine what would happen if the time and money spent on male chest hair removal was instead given to literacy programs. Interesting, eh?
Also anecdotally, I have talked to a decent number of intelligent, attractive women about their husband desires. Several described “treating me right” or “being considerate to me” or “making me special”. That falls under kindness for sure, as consideration. But it’s always defined in terms of “kind to me”, not generally or universally.
The conclusion I therefore draw, perhaps the most painful of this process, is that altruistic kindness is not an highly attractive quality. I’ve believed universal benevolence was a virtue, and something that would be rewarded in the marriage market. It doesn’t look that way. At least for women, “kindness” is defined on a less universal scale. Primarily, it’s consideration and friendliness towards her. It’s not chivalry.
A male friend sent me an interesting essay about honor. The thesis was that women cannot understand male honor, the idea of universal regard, the respect and dignity granted to friends, strangers, and even enemies. Women defined honor only in terms of their relationship, and maybe their community. Talking about this, another male even suggested general chivalry was a negative quality, because a woman might suspect that attention meant not kindness, but attraction. I won’t go as far as negativity, but my learnings about kindness – the individual versus the general – support the essay thesis. Altruistic kindness does not appear to be a highly desired quality. If you disagree, you have to solve the homeless shelter puzzle. In summary, it helps to read “right-treatment of me” for “kindness” as females see it.