A special “Peace One Day” guest article from the excellent Bridget Schuil for Badger GP.
Follow her on Twitter @mma_brij
Dear Men of Motorsport,
I come in peace. Today is Peace One Day. You might remember their branding from Lotus’s cars a few years ago. One of the themes for countries who aren’t currently at war is domestic violence vs. peace at home. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I seriously doubt the possibility of Karuno (aka. Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna) finding themselves embroiled in a domestic violence scandal like Chris Brown. The way they treat women – colleagues and fangirls/fanwomen alike, from all reports – shows that they’re on the other end of the ‘guys who get it’ spectrum. I noticed a disturbing trend in the answers that I received in the survey I did earlier in the year. The survey was about grid girls – thank you, if you responded, the insight was very useful. There was a sector of respondents whose answers in the free comments showed a lot of frustration, as well as some rather insidious anti-women sentiment. Let me clarify: I don’t think the men who responded angrily think they’re anti-women. However, there were a number of guys (mostly aged 14-30, with one outlier in his sixties) whose responses indicated beliefs about women that would put most women off them. It’s probable that the way they deal with women is resulting in the frustration they’re very obviously feeling towards women. For the last year and a bit, I have run a Bruno-themed Tumblr blog. It started as a joke, but I have really enjoyed the opportunity to observe the thoughts of the fangirls/fanwomen. Several themes emerged from the posts that I really wish the guys who responded to the survey could hear. Thus, I would like to explain, with relatable examples, why women love Karuno.
They’re comfortable in their skins
Women love confidence in a man. Actually, all people love confidence in another person. Deep down we know that someone who is confident in themselves is way less likely to lash out and hurt us with their own insecurities. As it turns out, confidence is a learnable trait. Science says you can fake it until you make it, so you can grow bigger stones by pretending that you have bigger stones than you really do. If you’re having trouble with this, Amy Cuddy’s TED talk is a good place to start life-hacking some extra confidence.
They’re guys who get it (and they don’t ogle us)
What guys who are scared by women don’t realise is that it’s hard to be a woman. We get treated like idiots all the time in ways that men don’t even realise are mean. For example, I work as a business development consultant – someone who gives advice to CEOs on running their companies – and yet I need to wear trousers or wooly tights year-round (even in 30+ degree heat) to stop men trying to look up my skirt in meetings. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t feel like a compliment when a man treats us like an inflatable doll. Neither Karun nor Bruno openly ogle colleagues or fangirls/fanwomen, and there is only one photo on record of Bruno looking down a girl’s top. Perhaps it’s because they were both raised by strong women, but we love that when we meet them they treat us with kindness and respect.
They’re openly bromantic
They’re openly bromantic, and they don’t feel the need to say things like ‘no homo’ after hugging each other. It says a lot to women when a man is secure enough in his own sexuality to show emotion to another man. In our heads, being loving to another guy in a heterosexual way while sober makes us think it’s more possible that you’d be loving to us in a heterosexual way while sober. I do understand that there’s a cultural belief system at work here. It’s not macho to be gentle to women, or affectionate towards other straight guys, or do anything that is perceived as ‘soft’. But there are resources out there like Guyland and Daring Greatly that really help to think differently about what courage and strength mean to us as values.
They read and talk about books. The thousands of fangirls/fanwomen on Tumblr love men who read. Reading teaches empathy, so it’s really no wonder that a species who crave empathy (humans in general, not just women) love people who practice empathy. Granted, not everyone wants empathy – some want sympathy or a source of constant help – but the fun women want to be seen for who they really are and have a partner who empathises with their struggles. Reading is also a way of having adventures. It is a secret wish of most women I know to be taken on adventures by their partner. For example, the sexiest thing a guy ever said to me was ‘If we can raise half a million, would you like to co-drive the Sydney to London rally with me?’ Adventures for two are a great way of bonding without talking about feelings, and neuroscience confirms that new experiences are a powerful aphrodisiac. In our heads, a man who is willing to go on adventures with an author will want to go on adventures with us too.
They love animals
Anyone who follows Karun knows he has a dog named Enzo; Bruno regularly tweets about his mum’s dogs, and cites hitting a dog as his worst moment in racing. ‘Dogs’ is listed as one of Klout.com’s top twenty list of engaging topics. There’s something primally attractive about people who are nice to animals. How many sitcoms and romcoms feature the cliché ‘people bonding over a dog in a park scene? You don’t need to take it as far as Fernando Rees or Spencer Pumpelly do with their full-on vegetarianism, but women love men who love animals. Loving a pet is as powerful an aphrodisiac as loving a best bro. In our heads, it speaks of an ability to feel and show love. All you need is love.
Some other examples of racing driver behaviours that women love:
Sebastian Vettel being super-gentle as he sheared his sheep in the build-up to the Melbourne GP a few years ago. Nelson Piquet Jr tweeting photos of his cat in his car. Petri Suvanto and friends making a log-bog for the girls when the plumbing in their chalet broke. Fernando Rees speaking up in support of the underdog in the recent Israel vs. Palestine fall-out. I acknowledge that thinking a man who makes log-bogs when adventures get uncomfortable is a true gentleman might be unique to women in the developing world who have felt the discomfort of inadequate sanitation facilities. However, it’s proof that there are men who go the extra mile to be nice guys and don’t end up in the friend zone. This is largely because they’re authentic to who they are, and are confident enough to make the first move with style. If you’re striking out with women or your partner seems unhappy in your relationship, maybe it’s time to take a different approach. Maybe it’s time to make peace with women and become a ‘guy who gets it’. If you do, women will love you for you, not your job, bank balance, or six-pack.