Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Why Do Guys Peacock?

DEAR NATALIE: I want to know why is it when guys are in a group (and they start hitting on me and my girlfriends) they decide to puff up their chests and verbally berate one another? Do they think that by degrading their friends this will somehow turn us on? This happened (again) recently at an event I attended, where two guys were talking with me and the one kept putting the other one down. I felt bad for the other one and ended up talking to him instead of the guy who "liked" me, which then made him get upset. So, he started berating me. Any thoughts as to why guys act like this? (I'm 24 and these guys were 28 and 32. The younger one was doing the berating). -- CONFUSED SINGLE GIRL

DEAR CONFUSED SINGLE GIRL: Call it posturing or call it "peacocking." I've seen this and experienced it myself in the dating scene. Some guys seem to think to get a girl's attention they have to be cocky, rude or arrogant. Maybe it works some of the time, but you have to ask yourself that if he is acting like this in front of people, what is he like behind closed doors? I am not surprised that the younger guy was the one doing the berating. I often feel that some young men haven't really been hit in the teeth with life too many times yet, and they are riding high on their arrogance balloon. But, once it pops, suddenly they are a little more humble, a little nicer and a little less awful to be around. I'm sorry that he berated you. If anything, it showed you immediately who he was and gave you an easy reason why you wouldn't want anything to do with him. I judge people that I meet in social situations in two different ways: How do they treat the waiter, and how do they treat their friends? Are they supportive and kind? Friendly and willing to have an exchange of ideas? Or, in this case, did he think that the quickest way to your heart (or other places) was via a cocky attitude? Some guys act like this when they are insecure and afraid of rejection. And if he's that easily frazzled, what will he be like when life actually takes him to task?

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: If you are at an event to network, don't eat the appetizers while you are mingling. It's hard to have a conversation when someone has a face full of sliders or spinach stuck in their teeth. Finish your networking first, then chow down.

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to nbencivenga@post-gazette.com or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)