The Testosterone Kings

Mens Health Magazine – May 2011

We’re sure that it’s happened to you: You’ve managed to angle in on a stunning woman at a dark bar. You break away to order two drinks and return to find some other dude heading your way—her way—also with two drinks. You, sir, have a sword fight on your hands.

What you do in the next 7 minutes will dictate whether you wind up with a phone number, a sleepover, or loneliness. And the game is already decided because your actions are predetermined by a certain hormone that has caused wars, destroyed marriages, and has perpetuated the human race since we were all apes.

Think: testosterone.

“Testosterone levels are associated with dominance behaviors and success when men compete for the attention of an attractive woman,” according to a recent study performed by Wayne State professor Richard Slatcher, Ph.D. Although this fact had already been gleaned in apes and other mammals, until Slatcher, nobody had ever tested humans.

He and his colleagues gathered 76 men, paired them up, and locked them in a small room for 7 minutes with a hot co-ed (a.k.a., the profs’ lab assistants), who, according to the study, “ranked 7.4 and 8.1 out of 9.”

In the end, winners were determined when the ladies ranked, on a seven-point scale, how well they ‘clicked with’ the dudes. When saliva swabs were measured at the Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta (you can’t make this stuff up), the winners had higher levels of testosterone coursing through their veins.

It was all very Bachelorette, and it should surprise nobody that the victors were the ones who engaged with the woman, peppered her with questions, and in so doing, controlled the interaction. These men sought to not only win the woman but also assert their own dominance. “We found that high T men had an explicit, conscious desire to be king of the hill,” said Slatcher.

But just because such collisions are pre-determined to some hormonal degree, doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Prior to the study, the men filled out a survey where they ranked their inner alpha male. Those who viewed themselves as dominant not only won the co-ed’s interest, but they also lowered the “clicked with” scores of their opponent.

Could it be that they already were high on vitamin T and knew it? Sure. But maybe they took that extra ten minutes in the bathroom, stared themselves down and said, “Yes, she’s a 7.4 or an 8.1 out of 9, but you’re the man! Those other dudes? They’re tools! Intellectual infants! Douchebags! She likes you, bro. She’s yours. Now go make it so.”