Attention is a Precious Commodity

Just about everything in the world can be compared to business. When it comes to the things that have value, there are some things that are abundant and easy to come by and thus, even when demand is very high, economies of scale allow us to keep the price down to a reasonable level. On the other hand, when something is very rare, or just very valuable regardless of the quantity available, the price goes up as our valuation of it increases. Supply and demand works in just about every aspect of life, not just business.

When it comes to the marketplace of relationships, men and women are shopping for two different things. A man is seeking someone he finds physically attractive who, at least when he’s young, will bear him healthy children and raise them, among other things. A woman’s value to a man is almost entirely in her ability to keep him sexually attracted and to provide the kinds of comfort and support he needs to face a world that cares little for him. He’s not looking for a servant, but a partner. A sexually attractive partner.

On the other hand, a woman has two specific criteria she looks for when shopping for a man who will be more than just a plaything like what she might have searched for in her youth. The first is obviously some kind of reliable support system, which usually comes down to a great job that provides enough money for the lifestyle she wants. Everyone knows this and there is little reason to cover it because it’s intuitive.

The second is the one that seems to be causing the most problems today, and that is attention. For a woman, there is little that makes her feel better than getting positive attention from the people she desires. The reason social media is so successful primarily because of women, because the average man cares little for any attention that isn’t sexual in nature, and you can’t really get that on social media. The true reason social media is the goliath it is today is because it has become a platform for women to publicize themselves and grab as much attention as they can manage, and men have to play if they want what they used to get the old fashioned way.

Like any other drug, attention for a woman is addicting and the more she gets, the further down the hole she falls. The problem is that this addiction works just like every other form of it on the planet: the more addicted they become, the more they need to feel satisfied. Reasonable levels of interaction with people quickly become unfulfilling to a woman who is desperately seeking the attention of others, especially when it comes to attracting a man. This is where we run into the chasm that exists between the sexes.

Men, in direct contrast to women, have little need for validation via attention. A man sees his worth in what he is able to accomplish, and while kudos are nice, they bear little weight in how he looks at himself. If he makes a lot of money, or is a master of his craft, or has become able to support himself in his chosen profession, he might consider himself successful and will generally be satisfied with his life. The positive attention of others rarely has any bearing on how he feels about himself, though he certainly appreciates it.

A woman, on the other hand, is biologically wired on social interaction. It is in her nature to be involved with other people and to have those people be involved with her. Most of this comes from the very necessary need to be emotionally available for her children, but the natural extension of this is a wide social network that provides her with the kinds of interactions she needs to feel important. For a woman, her worth lies in the relationships she has with others. Nothing she does, even in her career, can ever come anywhere close to that.

It is because of this disparity that men and women today are struggling to find a middle ground, and I’m going to say something that most people don’t want to hear: it’s mostly women’s fault. You see, continuing our analogy from before, relationships work just like businesses do. We each have something that we offer that we hope someone is willing to pay for. The problem is that what women used to value most, support, is no longer the primary good they wish to purchase from men, which is still the thing that most men have to offer.

The source of this comes from the fact that the modern woman simply doesn’t need the same level of support she used to. This isn’t a bad thing all on its own, and you would have to be ignorant to believe that we should go backward when it comes to the way we treat women. Still, the fact is that as women have become more self-sufficient, they have required less and less of the primary commodity that men have offered throughout our history: support and protection.

If we peel back all the various layers of other things that cloud our view, the root issue is that as women moved away from needing support from men, they began desiring that we fill that other desire they crave: attention. Their overall desire didn’t diminish, but as they were able to source their own support they started increasing their demand in the other area. Most women today have almost no need for a man to provide for them, so nearly all their desire is focused on attention.

Unfortunately, for most men attention is a very limited commodity. The average man is only able to focus on one thing at a time, and what little attention we do have is generally focused on things we’re interested in, which typically doesn’t include showering someone else with our focus. Sure, for short periods of time we might be able to muster the ability to pay real attention to a woman and what she wants, but men aren’t wired the same way women are and we quickly become bored. When that happens, we’re ready to move on to something more interesting, and no amount of sex or service or attention from a woman will overcome that.

It all comes down to supply and demand, just like everything else. A woman is willing to pay a certain price for attention, and a man is willing to sell his attention for a price that makes sense to him. If the two prices match up, a transaction is made. The problem is that most women don’t understand the basic principle that the attention of a man actually does have value, and they want more of it than most men are willing to give at any price. It doesn’t matter what you think is reasonable if the person who has what you want isn’t selling at your price. Both sides have to agree.

The point I’m really trying to get to here is that women have devalued attention to the point where it’s just not worth selling anymore. There is no appreciation for the attention we do give, so why would we bother going to the effort of providing more of it? Just like women didn’t want to give away their bodies cheap in the past, men don’t want to give away their precious attention for nothing. Until women start understanding the true value of attention and become grateful for what they get, it is unlikely we will see things improve in our modern relationship scene.

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