- Self-obsession of narcissism
- Impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behavior of psychopaths
- Deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism
Now, why would any woman seek a mate with such despicable characteristics? I have no idea, but I have always conjectured that they did. Remember Kira Argounova and Leo Kovalensky in Rand's We the Living, the case of the sublime seeking the affections of the ridiculous? Fiction?
Well, reality can be stranger than fiction. Gopika, a good friend of mine, was obsessed with this guy, Shyam, a brilliant fellow from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India, but fitted the dark triad description to a tee. A twentieth century Krishna come to think of it, Krishna, the heartthrob of just about every pubescent girl in India, fits the dark triad, doesn't he? all of Shyam's friends, barring Gopika, had long lost count of how many women he had hopped. Gopika was adamant, though, that she would be the exception, and Shyam would be faithful to her. The marriage lasted but only three years, and every minute of those three years was hell for Gopika.
I have more anecdotal evidence for the success of men like Shyam with women, but I'll spare you the litany. The New Scientist reports:
... says Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. "We have some evidence that the three traits are really the same thing and may represent a successful evolutionary strategy." ... Just as Bond seduces woman after woman, people with dark triad traits may be more successful with a quantity-style or shotgun approach to reproduction, even if they don't stick around for parenting. "The strategy seems to have worked. We still have these traits," Jonason says ...
This observation seems to hold across cultures. David Schmitt of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, presented preliminary results at the same meeting from a survey of more than 35,000 people in 57 countries. He found a similar link between the dark triad and reproductive success in men. "It is universal across cultures for high dark triad scorers to be more active in short-term mating," Schmitt says. "They are more likely to try and poach other people's partners for a brief affair."
If the dark triad of traits were evolutionarily successful, why haven't they spread more widely among the males? The researchers suggest that possibly because they are successful only when they are rare; otherwise, the females will become suspicious and guarded. To me, that explanation seems to be tottering on the edge of tautology, but, hey, I am not a biologist or an evolutionary psychologist!
Even if we were to grant that it could be an evolutionarily successful strategy for the male to be a Machiavellian, psychopathic, rake, what evolutionary advantage does the female expect from mating with him? Why is masochism a successful strategy for the female? Why do Radha, Rukmini, Sathyabhama, Meera, Andal..., and Gopika, insist on falling blindly for Krishna, the dark one?