Guest Post: Happiness between the sexes – how winning defines us

Note from Sasha: As you know, I write using an anonymous persona, Sasha, who’s positive, enthusiastic, upbeat; she wants to inspire and motivate. She can be at times, to some of my friends (especially the blokes), a little bit irritating. What you might not know is that this blog’s readership is overwhelmingly FEMALE. And while this is fantastic – I love you ladies and the amazing support the HPL gets  – I also wanted something for the boys, something of a respite from the usual smiley cheeriness of the blog. So who better than my friend Mr Maxi, founder of Nandos Bike Club and all-round cool man around town (he’ll HATE me saying that). He had free reign to come up with a male-focused anti-HPL blog post and he’s somehow managed to define how men and women perceive happiness differently while talking about gambling. I think it’s brilliant – it made me laugh out loud. I’m not ENTIRELY sure how this is going to go down with the rest of you, but in any case, enjoy!


This ‘Happiness’ blog.
It’s so bloody NICE.
So stickily HAPPY – a digital glacé cherry
It is no surprise to me that The Happiness Project London is written by, and for the most part, contributed to, by GIRLS. 

You lovely things. Look at you girls, with your super supportive comments and overflowing cup philosophy. After all, life’s too short to make the most of all the dolphins you could be swimming with and time you could be spending with your mum – who is also your best friend – right?

A microchip embedded deep in my CPU means I lack capacity to comprehend your scrawling – and to me, reading it is but a rung above sliding down a razorblade into a vinegar-filled paddling pool.

  • Are you <really> this happy? Surely not.
  • Perhaps it’s satisfying to feint elation then? I don’t believe that.
  • And do you <truly> rejoice in the joy of others as your comments suggest? Given the choice, you’d secretly swap places with someone whose happiness level scores higher than your own. Surely. 

It may not surprise you to learn that I’m male. 

So I’m a realist. 
To me, the cup is neither half empty nor half full; it’s merely twice as big as it needs to be given the volume of its contents.
Your peacock-feather displays of happiness overwhelms me – I’m scared and baffled by fluffyjossstickproject. 

You think I’m damaged goods perhaps. A spoilsport. A bitter outcast from your World of syrup souls. 

But I’m not Eden’s serpent, trying to awaken you from a blissful dream.
To understand me, you’ll require X-ray specs.
Somewhere, beneath my skinhead and scowl, beyond the retina scanner to my soul and at the very back of the dusty vault, I am in fact extremely happy. 

I just don’t want to shout it from the rooftops. Or spend too much time celebrating your happiness. 

When it comes to happiness, we’re different, you see.
Men and women that is.
So when are we both at our happiest? When do we SING?
When we’re winning of course.
And when it comes to winning, men are from casino; women are from bingo. 

Ever played bingo?

You probably have; according to statistics, it’s the second most popular ‘active hobby’ in the UK (after fishing, apparently).
And women represent the just under 80% of its customers. 

Ever watched bingo advertising?
No matter what the brand, it’s always about celebrating a win.
Feeling HAPPY.
The plot is simple and usually revolves around this concept: Come to bingo to be with your pals. Share a rib-cracking embrace when they win – and remember to shriek with elation (as girls do, apparently) if it’s you. Most importantly, wave your hands uncontrollably. You’ve BLOODY WON! WE’VE ALL BLOODY WON!! 

But art imitates life in this case, and the advertising is effective. Trust me on this.
Bingo doesn’t purport to be a game of skill – on the contrary, a computer can dab your numbers automatically if you prefer while you stare, comatose, at the ceiling. But weirdly, according to research, having this basic input (dabbing numbers when they are called) allows women to feel empowered

Conversely, for this audience, games with more complex tactics, rules – and genuine skill – are simply not successful.
Because it’s winning per se – and the associated celebration – that is the real drive for women; community, friendships, chatrooms and social gatherings all contribute to what is shared happiness.

And so to casinos. 

Ever been to a casino?
If you’re a woman, you’ve visited a couple of times but according to stats, you’ve probably accompanied a man.
Casinos are also gambling shrines, but unlike bingo, are generally pretty intimidating places.
Sophisticated. Suave, even – with murky connections and champagne cocktails. 

And if you’re a winner, luck is irrelevant – it’s because you’re INTELLEGENT! 
Well done; you’ve BEATEN the system. You’re a hunter, truly empowered – you’re a ‘player’.
Guess what – men love casinos. They represent around 84% of their audience. 

And have you ever watched a casino winner win?
What, no arm spasms?
Bingo this ain’t – you’d be lucky to get a reaction at all.
And nothing from the spectators either – there may be a gentleman’s nod on a big win – but nothing EMOTIONAL. No way. 

Inside, beyond the façade, the winning male is pirouetting, annihilating all doubters and beating his chest for all the imaginary animals of the forest to appreciate. There are other factors in play here – he’s PROVEN something. He’s BEATEN OTHERS. And that makes him even happier. 

Relatively speaking, men are ultimately hardwired to be internally happy.
Happiness is controlled. And not shared.
And we celebrate bringing down our peers – not propping them up.
So men are from casino. 

Maybe this helps to explain why The Happiness Project London is written by, and for the most part, contributed to by GIRLS.
Girls are from bingo.
Share the happiness. Share the love. That’s just dandy; you’re fabricated this way.
Meanwhile, know that even if I don’t show it, I’m happy too.
If you need me, I’ll be down the casino.

20 responses to “Guest Post: Happiness between the sexes – how winning defines us

  1. I recognise this is meant to be provocative, and I know you’ll get lots of comments stating the obvious (not all women are like he says; not all men are like he says).

    My impression, much as I love HPL and much as I love experiments, is that the “guest poster from another POV” is not necessarily a useful experiment – for exactly the reason he describes. A happiness blog is almost by definition about sharing tips and being supportive. (Although if anyone thinks men don’t like sharing tips on blogs, check out LifeHacker or some such – men do this all over the web, on topics like productivity, technology, investing, video games – practical, less emotive things which are about shortcuts, saving, and yes, winning.)

    I think the gameroom metaphor is not that bad, really. But the act of stumbling into a room of people in a bingo mindset and chest-thumping about how in fact when one of you wins, everyone else loses – what’s the point, what’s gained? If we wanted that, we would have signed up to The Competitive Project London. Maybe some of us have, and we read that when that’s where our heads are at. So it feels a bit off to be ambushed with it here.

    We like Sasha (and we like the real person behind her), can’t wait to hear from her again.

  2. One of the reasons I like HPL is for its insights into the female mind. Men need this. If I want to read a blog written by a man there are already plenty out there. I’m quite content for Sasha’s blog to stick to its winning formula.

  3. Hah. I like him.

    (And there are plenty of female cynics out there. Trust me. Ahem.)

  4. Well, I like him too. It’s nice to look over the other side of the fence once in a while. And it’s a reminder that happiness is a many-headed beast – one person’s jolly cavorting is another person’s smouldering glare is another person’s contented snore…

  5. jody maclachlan

    maxi – that scowl is REAL!! you can’t fool me……….

  6. Ha that was great. Very clever. Loved it. And very true amongst so many that I know. A bit of light reading for the afternoon. Thanks for that – enjoy I did….

  7. So what about football then? How does that work? Scorers cartwheeling across the pitch , stadiums hugging each other and grown men bawling if their team looses. The the emotional loop hole?

  8. A friend linked to your blog on Facebook, I devoured it in one day – it’s a pleasure to read, and I love the HPL concept, keep up the good work!

  9. It inspired me to (finally) start my own and draw my various musings into one place, essentially I suppose that if mine’s terrible it makes it all your fault!

  10. OK.
    Trying desperately to be on brand for this blog (and failing), I shall ask two questions:

    If engagement is the objective, is vanilla or polarised opinion going to get you there more swiftly? Dawg.
    Why do we think that men take umbrage with what I wrote – while girls have adapted to something new, despite this clearly being a female-focussed blog?

    As an aside, I’d like to examine briefly what sort of person (i) writes “WE love Sacha…can’t wait to get her back again”?
    Speaking on behalf of a group is a method reserved by the clinically insane or polititions. And after a single guest post, you can’t wait? REALLY?
    I assume, which is unfair, that you are from the States.

    Our second critic apparently reads this to get an insight into girls. I have a unique method which I shall now share: having girls for friends in, like, real life. I find it to be a perfect tool. Perfect tool.

    To the rest of you (the friendly, clearly more open-minded femmes), come say hello on Twitter, which I have just joined and am nervously navigating. @mrmaxhacks

    PS I hate casinos, FYI.

  11. I love this post. Polarised opinion is where it’s at and it’s what makes life interesting. And funny…

    And for the guy who uses this blog to gain an insight into women, ever try a girlfriend? That would work.

  12. Ouch. Nicole now really!

    Children please play nice on my blog or I’ll have to bang your heads together.

    You know I love you all equally. Now, shall we have a group hug?! *outstretches arms and waits patiently* xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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