Sunday, August 29, 2004



So I went to "the club" last night. Dear god it is such a depressing experience. Invariably I spend the entire evening at the bar surveying the crowd to find a woman attractive enough to approach. Every once in awhile (maybe once per hour) I will key in on someone across the way who looks like they are a plausible candidate so I will make my way from the bar across the floor and be summarily disappointed by how they look a little bit closer up. Nonetheless, I will have made the trek and they are still better looking than everyone else in the place so I will try to initiate contact and I will be rejected out of hand. It is amazing. From my vantage point at the bar I see what appears to be a lot of guys meeting women and getting somewhere with them. Yet I am incapable of meeting a woman who wishes to acknowledge my existence. I suppose it isn't much of a loss as long as I'm not completely blown away by them, but if I can't get anywhere with women who I am even remotely attracted to, how am I going to get anywhere with a woman who causes my heart to stop? I guess I have evidence showing that I don't get anywhere with them either (Emily and Sarah).

So anyway...there was this ultra drunk guy who was quite a bit like I imagine one of my coworkers would be in a crowded bar when drunk. He decided to take residence right next to me and his arm kept hitting into me. I ignored him. He kept screaming, but the place was loud anyway so I ignored him. He threw stuff behind the bar and I imagined that a bouncer would soon find their way over to take care of this guy. I was wrong. He tried to touch a complete strangers breasts and his friends finally stepped in and he almost got into a fight with one of them, but by this point I figured his friends would get him out of there and take him home. Once again I was wrong. He gave the bartender a hard time one more time and I had more or less lost it. I leaned in close to him and told him "you know you are drunk right?" His response was a simple "What's it to you?" I looked him in the eye and said "sooner or later you are going to piss someone off and they won't have to kick your ass because the first swing you take you will end up on your ass." I don't know what reaction I was going for, but the reaction I got was priceless...he tried to take a swing at me while sitting on the bar stool and he fell off the bar stool onto the floor. He bounced back up acting like I was the one who kicked him off. I was certain I was going to have to fight at this point which was ironic because those of you who know me would know that despite the fact that I was at the bar, I was only drinking coke (I don't drink). The sober guy would be the one to get into a fight. Alas, his friends ended up grabbing him finally and pulling him away. After the fact I couldn't help but think about Jason and Matt since we had a conversation recently about how despite the fact that I have been in several fights over my life, I had never been in a bar fight. I don't think this would actually count since I didn't get to throw a punch, but if I were to get in a bar fight, I would have to say I wouldn't be even remotely remorseful of kicking this guys ass.

I left at closing time 2am and left the bartender a large tip since she had put up with this guys crap for some time. I thought about making a move on her as a last ditch effort, but decided against it since she wasn't blonde. I went home and got up just about an hour I am on my way into the office to get some work done...

But I have to mention that as this guy was behaving as a jerk next to me, the entire time my days discussing game theory in college came screaming back to me. It was a variant of the game involving hawk nations and dove nations. He was a hawk and he was going on being a jerk and a hassle for some time because he kept ending up dealing with doves. Sooner or later though it was evident that he was going to mess with another hawk and the two of them would "go to town" as it were. The question that I was asking is "am I a hawk?" That question lead me to a simpler question, "why hadn't he already encountered a hawk?" or "why are there so few hawks?" Being a hawk is obviously costly because it does not imply that you will necessarily win, but merely that you are willing to fight and fighting is work, possible jail time, civil suits, etc. Still, being a hawk is a beneficial strategy until you run into another hawk because you get your way and get to do what you want until that happens.

Here is the key point that doesn't get quite enough discussion...being a hawk doesn't necessarily make you a bully, it just means you are willing to fight. There are lots of good reasons to fight, despite the insanity that "fighting never solved anything." In fact, someone who is a hawk but doesn't instigate fights, only responds to other hawks, provides a public good. All of the doves are made better off because this hawk is willing to stand up for them but they don't have to incur the costs. This lead me to what I think is an important insight, "we should expect there to be an inefficient number of hawks (at least of the public good variety)." The doves are being free riders. As with any public good suffering from a free rider problem we should expect provision below the optimal level. The irony may be that we do not have enough people willing to go to a fight as a result. Just my little economic extrapolation for the day.

I'd say your a hawk - confronting an aggressive drnk in a bar is pretty hawkish! :-)

Three things:

One: Your friend Matt actually predicted (and rightly so, apparently) that you would get into a bar fight, after being suprised to hear that you had not already been in at least one. Score one for your friend's knowledge of human behavior.

Two: You are a hawk. After all, by your own account, you antagonized the drunk guy and started the "fight." A dove would have found another seat.

Three: Being a hawk does not make you a bully. Picking on people who cannot adequately defend themselves (for example, people who are much smaller, or people who are intoxicated) makes you a bully.

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