All posts by dungone

The Tiger Analogy (Plausible Deniability is Sadistic and Cruel)

Imagine that you’re traveling through a distant land and come upon a society where a man who wants a relationship must go into an arena with innumerable doors. All the women who have seen the man and are attracted to him then enter the back of the arena and take up behind some of the doors. But the rest of the doors are supplied with fierce tigers that would eat the man. There are many doors – hundreds perhaps – and the ratio of women to tigers is what we shall call “attraction.” The lower the ratio, the more likely the man will meet his fate in the jaws of a tiger. But men are fighters – they can fend off at least a few of the tigers, acquiring a few scars and losing some blood along the way – and are willing to do this so long as one of the doors eventually reveals a loving woman. But still, these men can only fight off so many tigers before they end up a mangled wreck of their former selves. And the women, who peer out through secret peep holes, see a progressively uglier man until they lose interest and walk off, in turn being replaced with more tigers. Eventually the man must admit defeat. Yes, there may be one unopened door left that holds his lover, but at some point it just stops being worth it. It’s just not worth it.

The really attractive men – well, they sometimes open multiple doors and have their way with all the women before moving on to yet another – completely unconcerned for the occasional tiger. And the women complain about this, they think it’s awful. But the less attractive men keep getting mangled. Everyone is unhappy about this arrangement, men and women alike. Women think it’s next to impossible to find the right guy… they peer at them through the peep holes as they either have their way with every other girl in town or else are mangled by the tigers.

The ridiculousness of this society becomes apparent to you when you find out that at any time, the women who are standing behind those doors can just open the doors themselves, walk into the arena with the man and say, “here I am, the interested one!” But they don’t. They just don’t. So you find one of the women who lives in this society and ask her why they don’t end the game even when they can. And she answers it flatly: because they just aren’t interested in a man who wouldn’t risk getting eaten by a tiger in order to be with her. She can open the door but she doesn’t want to. She swears up and down that she finds these men who are being mangled by tigers to be very attractive and feels extremely sorry for them now that they’re dead, but she is just unwilling to end the ritual. She can’t overcome her own macabre curiosity. Yet, she claims up and down that the reason why she is alone or that she has been used and discarded is because men are either cowards or assholes. It has nothing to do with her own behavior.

Would you want to live in that society? As a man? As a woman?