My brother is about 8 years old, and he's a huge softy. But already the gender differences are coming out. I was on the phone with him today, and he was telling me about his quails.
He has 4 quails, and something terrible happened a month ago. He left open the door of the quail cage and some of the more intrepid quail wandered outside, where they were quickly picked apart by crows. Nothing was left but feathery tufts and scattered viscera, and 4 of the quieter quails remained huddled, terrified, in the cage.
So he said now he guards the quails. "I take them outside for more than 15 minutes to play on the grass, and I stay guard over them. And it feels so good to guard them from crows because they are cute and fluffy!"
His protective instincts have kicked in for something smaller and cuter than he is, and he revels in his duty as Protector of the Small. This instinct will never leave him, he will always want to protect things smaller and cuter than he is (like women). For now, though, he is still 8, and is small himself, so quail are the only outlet.
Takeaways to trigger men's protective instincts:
- be small
- be cute
- stay close when there are crows around
My brother didn't see the quails as an imposition, or a burden, or weak. He just saw them as something that added joy to his life. He recognised that if he wanted the quails to continue to add joy to his life, he must guard them from crows, and he was happy and proud to do so.
I used to get a little annoyed when I got called cute by men, but I now realise it had nothing to do with me being inept or weak. It had to do with them recognising instinctively that in a tough situation, they'd have to be the ones to act, because they're faster, stronger and bigger. And their instincts are screaming at them to protect me, because I bring joy to their life, and the worst case scenario is feathery tufts (or human female equivalent) and viscera. The way it is consciously expressed, though, is "you are cute".
(Incidentally, this is why men hate being called cute.)
Which got me thinking: a woman that acts in a manner that implies she is receiving protective benefits from her man will in turn, make him feel useful and proud, and reinforce her cuteness to him, all subconsciously.
- keeping physically close to him in unfamiliar surroundings
- not wandering off by yourself (I have given some of my male friends quite a scare by doing this!)
- relying on him for transport and shelter (as much as practicable)
- taking his advice for personal safety (sigh... this one's tough, because I like doing risky things)
If you don't do the above, he will constantly feel like you don't appreciate his protectiveness. Be appreciative instead and let him be proud of protecting you.