toronto copywriter


Hunters and Slaves©2005

The spear, the remote – and some plain words about modern men’s big fat conflict.

[Counterpart to Strippers and Brides, about women's big fat conflict.]

Author Fay Weldon was asked about the mirror society holds up to women and the damage it does.  Quoth fearless Fay:

”But these days I think it's young men who get more damaged by the mirror society holds up to them than women --- too much testosterone, too hairy, too obstreperous, too unfeeling and unknowing.  In other words, not female."  [italics added]

Time to get acquainted with men again, is it?  Hey, I've just been looking for an excuse to reveal my encyclopedic and profoundly empathetic knowledge of men with anyone who would listen—so this is perfect!

Gather round, and let's perform that spiritual penis re-attachment, not just with understanding, but with warmth and good humour.  Let's show them we get it:  What they deal with and what it feels like.

The first thing to remember about men at all times:
Men don't know what they're doing; they just know they're good at it.

And what they’re good at is the hunt.  The hunt for a warm place to shelter the eternally homeless penis.

Women make a mistake when they assume that skill at the hunt means the man is aware of its purpose—let alone conscious of his intent.  Uh-uh.  No way.

The hunt goes on according to laws as old and strong as the law of gravity.  And so the big spiritual issue that splits men’s souls is the use and misuse and misunderstanding of the hunt.

In the 21st century, men are still catching up with their own DNA;  still trying to deal with the chronic after-effects of the compulsive hunt that successfully brought us down from the trees.

They did their job.  We’re all bi-pedal and have opposable thumbs and Blackberries™ to use them on.  And are we grateful?  Shucks, no, we insist that men renounce the parts of themselves that got us through evolutionary tough times when the only girls to go home with were the hairy ones.  (And still, the men knocked themselves out.  Cro-magnon for MVP! )

The original hunt programmed modern men for success at the only thing they now all have in common:  Begging for sex without ever appearing to.  Men are accustomed to satisfying their appetites on the spot, with clubs if necessary.  The same instinct that provided food during the infancy of the species, doesn’t provide sex during the prom night of the species.  And we who demand that they kill spiders, change tires, and check out the noise downstairs—shouldn't protest too much.

Our beloved brother-primates are now in the straddly position of warrior and supplicant all at once—a complex cocktail of drives and appetites that shouldn’t be underestimated in its power to stagger the brilliant minds of both genders.

Modern men, who are the products of industry and media, have to be the way they are because women are the way we are:  We evade; then we assess; then we choose.  They can’t club us no mo’.  And so we give up not the tiniest corner of our throne—the one we use to sit on the goodies—until the swains have proven their determination.

Because in our eyes, if he’s "good enough to conquer me", then he should be good enough for anything else that life may throw his way—or throw our way, if we hook up with him.  Fearlessness in the face of toothy, snarling creatures has been replaced by fearlessness in the face of toothy, availably-smiling creatures:  women.

So we make it tough—either tough up front, or tough later on.  If we’re juicily yielding up front, then we bring on the Heil Mama stuff later.  (That bait-and-switch thang is particularly nasty; it’s when we make y’all pay cuz we were such shiny-eyed, credulous fools, my darlin boys.)

When men are superbly determined and do succeed at all cost—speaking their lines with great conviction—we punish them.  We take a look at how well they did at what we asked of them (elevating us in word and floral delivery) and then we speculate about their cunning:  What shadowy corner of their souls produced that panic of poetry that guaranteed them even one perfect night with us? (if nothing more.)

We punish them for simply saying whatever it takes to replace the club.  We're hurt and surprised when they later say “You didn’t actually believe that stuff, did you?”  And to prove to us how silly we were, they shimmy the same moves with whatever genetically beneficial woman comes down the path next.

This is how they pay us back for making them supplicants; this is how they show us that it is a dance; they're showing us their steps, but they have no intention of dancing the night away with just one woman.  They may have appeared to beg, but they were just kidding.  Just gettin the job done.  "Man's gotta do..." and so on.

Pesky issue:  When they do well at intoxicating us, we pronounce them shallow and corrupt.  Why?  “Because men don't really mean it.  They never really mean it.”   

Not true. They're not even sure what “it” is.  So we can’t fault them for not meaning something that has no meaning.  This is important to know.  More important to believe.  More important not to take personally, any more than gravity..

They don’t “mean it”?  What?  Does a stone "mean it" when it’s dropped and falls to the ground?  Men are evolutionary wind-up toys.  They do what they do, by rote, to keep enough new critters being born to build shelter and file income tax.  And check out that noise downstairs.

So never mind meaning It; all they know is that they need It.  But they also cannily suspect that It—whatever it is—will be their ultimate undoing.  Yup.  Bullseye.  Repeated craving for It from one source, one woman, will morph them into one of those creatures tiptoeing around on leashes of desire:  the domesticated man, DM, or the archetypal Slave.

They break out in ambivalence rashes:

Threats from the DM’s adoring benefactor on the other end of the leash will reduce him and enrage him all at once.  He does know, quite accurately, that It will inexorably domesticate him, and no man—or woman—truly wants that.

The domesticated man does us no favours.  We want our hunters to remain hunters, long after we’ve enslaved them to a repeated craving for whatever it is they once told us they couldn’t live without. (Oh yeah—us.)

To domesticate hunters successfully, we load up the basic benefits package (reliably great sex) with those specific, customized cravings that are what “I need you, baby” means to Mr. Right, personally:  

For some, it’s a hot dinner every night.  For others, it’s an attitude of unconditional worshipfulness.  For others, it’s give-us-this-day-our-daily-cleavage.  For others still, it’s never knowing who their woman really is and exactly what’s going to come next.

The last type—the mystery fancier, the adventurer—is the most fun and he’s the most successful with women over time.  He’s comfortable with whatever amount of anticipation and stimulating uncertainty keeps his life intriguing.   He’s happy to be reactive to us and trusts us to provide something compelling for him to react to.  We trust him to always elevate us in private and public—something we must have in order to stoke our desire for him alone.

The warm-dinner men, the domesticated men, the “please read my care and feeding instructions” men—are easy to see.  Their posture tells all.  They're stooped, shuffling behind the weed-whipper in resignation; no longer full of the urge to bolt or even scuttle; no longer full of the urge to mate; no longer full of any urge—that space in their souls having been filled with the concrete memory of their moment of triumph when they captured a woman of their very own.

They parked their spears after that; forgot why the hunt was ever pleasure in the first place.  Glad to have it over with—that sickening suspense of waiting for her to accept or reject.  Never again!  They forget that “never again” was supposed to refer to all the other women—not the one they captured.

And so men have a rock-hard difficult time with the species’ other half, because for a woman, a man’s showmanship at the hunt is like a preview.  We don’t like to find out later that the movie trailer included the only engaging scenes in the entire production.  (Always a big let down.)

Once you get clued in to the model, you can see Hunter and Slave archetypes everywhere in pop culture.  Vin Diesel and Bruce Willis are Hunters; all the dads on sitcoms are Slaves.  We’re usually spared watching one turn into the other.  One mythical character, the Captain in Patrice Lecomte’s movie The Widow of St. Pierre, was Hunter, Slave—and Sultan.  Unforgettable.  But usually, movies cut mercifully to the credits before the Hunter turns into a Slave.

There are trophy women out there (not the fun-to-touch kinda trophy, but the whole-woman trophy) who offer previews that are more of an “aperitif” experience; intended to be developed and riffed on throughout the full-length production.

And this is another irksome situation in which men panic, grab the remote, and retreat:  He’s just shown her all his best stuff—and she’s just beginning to show him hers.  Dang.   Again.  She’s cranky when his game tapers off—he’s cranky when hers picks up and makes him feel he can’t possibly reciprocate.  Nothing he does could ever be enough.


The hunter is every woman’s dream:  He who captures, who captures by storm, by silence, by talent, by art, by courage, by poetry, by humour—and by being openly supplicant.  He who captures by throwing down his cloak and saying “pick me.”

Once women are captured, they assume the hunt will continue—in their direction.  Darlin men, if you’re ever going to upgrade from Man 1.0 to Man 2.0, and stop facing all those annoying bugs and glitches, you’re going to have to download this critical plug-in:  The purpose of the hunt is not to capture and then retire, it’s to show her what you’re made of, what she can expect, what she considers to be The Deal.

 Disappoint her and you’ll end up calling her Bitch.

What to do about all this, supple reader?  Grasp the game rules:

One of us [men] likes to hunt; one of us [women] likes to be hunted.   The wrinkle:  The man is programmed to hunt a new catch, and the woman is programmed to feel like a new catch.  (Which she can only feel if he continues to hunt her.)  So when he stops hunting her, she stops feeling new.  And when she stops feeling new, he stops feeling interested.  And when he stops feeling interested, she stops not changing the locks.

The male spirit will hunt forever, so you may as well point it in a useful direction; ideally, at the family, if we're really talking about getting practical.  In the family, a man can get appreciated, loved, challenged, looked up to, and loved up some more.  Family is actually incredibly sexy, what with all the angelic little people having been shtupped into existence by the ardent lovers, just as Big Mama Nature decreed.

Men who disparage marriage have never been moved to see it as the fetishy fling and opportunity for chest-thumping that it’s supposed to be.  Here’s a useful context, darlins:  Marriage is the ultimate private love lab, the closed set in which the two lead characters can do it all.  No observers, no judges.  No Simon.  Complete freedom to look ridiculous, sound ridiculous, laugh, cry, invent, retreat, put it on, take it off, wear it, eat it, roll in it, have completely unrestrained fun with it.  Whatever it is.

And sistahs, we women also have to come across with the goods from our own movie trailers.  We start out all adoring-like and the boys strut around, smugly releasing their inner sultan—and then we teach them to heel.  Sultans don’t heel.

Once they have a season ticket to the queen’s boudoir, men want to be slaves and hunters and sultans, a united team of spirits.  Of course, they all know how to pay court—the modern hunt—but in return, they want simple, down-home comforts like eye contact during lovemaking.

So if women are slithering and mincing back and forth between their archetypal roles as strippers and brides, and men are charging and crawling back and forth between their roles as hunters and slaves, we just need to make up some really clear name tags in big block letters, wear them, get honest, and get on with it.  It’s actually quite a bit of fun, with the right attitude of cheerful earthiness. .

Welcome back, darlin guys, I’m your biggest fan.  Y'all are the best and each of you deserves to be gloriously happy you’re a man.  Stop apologizing, hold the door, buy the roses, get the woody, laugh your head off, and love us madly.  And frequently.

 It looks good on you.









[All cartoons from]


STRIPPERS AND BRIDES - go straight here for the woman's counterpart to Hunters and Slaves




If you have variety
every day,
you eventually crave something different.


Link down,
supple reader:

Strippers & Brides
Woman on the half-shell


TheBoogie Hearse:
Pleasure as a spiritual skill


The Soul of the Threesome:
Lover, Mate and Parent: The holy trinity of security