Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Guardian Angel Learns a Fashion Lesson

Steve, my Guardian Angel, declared over his morning honey bun that he thought he'd shed his robe in favor of some more Chapel Hill-appropriate male garb.  I was relieved, as he did seem a little conspicuous in his white robe and slippers, even though he shed his angelic wings a few weeks before.  Anyway, I offered hopefully to take him shopping, being that shopping is an all-year activity thanks to malls.

He indicated that it really wasn't necessary, and that I needed to write that paper I've been procrastinating on.  I thought, "Hmmm . . . . maybe there's a cute girl angel I'm going to hear about someday?"

Anyway, he came back wearing an amazing outfit: camou cargo pants, a Duke t-shirt, a red-and-white striped necktie, and running shoes!  When I recovered my amazement, I asked in my usual subtle manner:

"Where did you get those clothes?"

"Oh, at a little store called the Salvation Army.  I figured that they were on our side."

Clearly, in the Celestial Kingdom guy angels are just as fashion-challenged as their human Earthly counterparts.  So I first tried to dissuade him with a threat: "Steve, if you wear that, I'm going to think impure thoughts about Brad Pitt."

But Steve was unmoved, in his stubborn angelic way.

So I decided to go the diplomatic route, to do some damage control.

"Er, Steve.  About that Duke t-shirt.  It might not be a good idea."

"Why not," he replied.  "The colors match my eyes."  Gawd!  He is so guileless.

Not quite.  So I fell back on the semiotics position.

"About Duke t-shirts.  Did you know that Duke's sports teams are known as the Blue Devils?"

"Really?  I didn't know that.  You mean I could get in trouble for wearing it?"

"I'm afraid so.  Your home office might have questions and call you in for retraining."

"Well, I'm not a fan of any team that calls itself the Sad Devils.  It's like that school from the west that I heard calls itself the Demon Deacons.  What's going on?  Our Adversary must have a strong presence in this Tarheel State; but, Angel, never fear, I'm on the job with you."

So, with my guidance, he gave up the Duke shirt, and replaced it with a nice button-down shirt that went with the tie.  But he still kept the cargo pants. 

You have to accept partial victories gracefully.

Beginning next week, I will be away for a bit; however, I've scheduled the posting of a drink recipe and a tapir story.

Have a nice week!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Possible Implication for Evolutionary Psychology

In general, evolutionary psychologists have reckoned that the mechanisms that are involved in present-day mate selection by humans largely emerged during the Pleistocene era. These would include for males facial symmetry, muscular physique, physical dominance, athletic prowess, and other traits associated with the alpha males and high levels of testosterone. For females it would include having a youthful appearance, facial beauty, large breasts, and other traits associated with reproductive success.

In general, these are the traits most exaggerated in the dominance hierarchies in high schoolers.  As a matter of fact, the Environment of Evolutionary Action (which some think of as the the Pleistocene era!) is still functioning in a typical high school in the USA.

However, these same traits were differentially selected when different selection processes were operational: those of the prehistoric humans, sometimes loosely referred to as cave persons. (Being able to live in a cave was probably a rare luxury at that time.) This did not include changes which have taken place since then: longer life spans, necessity for education, later ages for pairing off, and greater survivability of a given person. In short, for industrialized cultures, the likelihood of becoming an adult is fairly high. And those traits which still draw attraction serve less of an evolutionary function.

Would it be possible, with time, for certain additional traits to be evolutionarily selected? For example, would young girls start becoming attracted more to guys who were smart enough to learn calculus or be verbally clever or artistic?! And guys may show a parallel evolutionary convergence, in turn: Why be content with a dumb bunny with large breasts when you can have a literate or biochemistry-capable girlfriend with large breasts! (In fact, hers could even be store-bought; most guys may be happy with either type!)

Actually, I exaggerate. If the end result of such adaptations as cosmetics, improved diet, execise, and other means improve on the basal characteristics of people, these previously potent sources of human variation become less important. And, by default, being more intelligent provides and adaptation premium, albeit a small one.  Nevertheless, over evolutionary time this can be significant.

I must confess to liking nerds and geeks.  As such, I may be a force in human evolution, which is still going on!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Personalities of Academic Disciplines

I am persuaded, having occupied a perspective on academe from what might be characterized as the nosebleed seats, to tell what I know about academic departments on a typical modern university.  But I really learned from that unlikely place common to many of our experiences: the environment of the teen girls and where one gets to sit in the cafeteria.

Let's face it, there are some departments that are more established and carry more gravitas than others. The English and History departments are like the girls from the Old Families: sure of their position and prone to guard it jealously.  But Philosophy is, by far, the field regarded as the wisest.  Don't mess with her.  She has clout with the assistant principals (deans) and is the subject of much fawning.  These hang our at Cool Girls' Table #1.

Art, music, and theatre are all arty and eccentric.  Well, not always music.  Piano or clarinet skill gives entree into the ranks of the polite, but trombones are to be frowned upon.  Artists can be a source of anxiety: as long as they're nicely tossing pots or painting watercolors, there's no problem; but this is a field in which no nudes are good news, as least from the administration's perspective.  They are allowed with the previously-mentioned cool girls on occasion but often taken with sufferance.

 Geography and Psychology would like to sit with the cool girls in the Sciences, but are rarely allowed by the others lest the others feel tarnished by association and lose coolness. Geography and Psychology are nerd disciplines; though some sorority or cheerleader types go into psych.

Sociology?  Cast Tori Spelling as her.  She sits by herself, or maybe with the mullet crowd.

 What can we say about some of the others?   Think of the Engineering disciplines as leading towards the Sapphic side, or at least preferring their dress.  No, that's not fair.  These are the smart, homely girls without fashion sense. Nursing is in another world: maybe some Sailor Senshi will visit and report on them.  The fact that they wear uniforms in clinical settings makes them immune to stereotypes.

The Sciences, of course, constitute a clique, together with Mathematics, and sit at the other popular kids' table. there Physics constitutes the bitch queen, setting the standards of dress and conduct much like a pledge trainer does with the group.  Cast Shannon Dothery in that role if you cast some actress to personify an academic department.  Chemistry is also established; maybe not as exalted but very secure.  Biology is a little less so, but she has a studly older brother named Darwin that evokes teen fantasies of which the nuns would not approve.  Geology and Astronomy are quiet, polite members of this clique: knowing that as long as they don't call attention to themselves they will be accepted.  Mathematics is definitely in with this group, but doesn't always go along.  Cast Sandra Bullock as Mathematics.

Public Relations and Communications are easy to type.  Think Paris Hilton.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's Your Number, Part Two

As an alternative to this question raised in a recent romantic comedy, one person suggested an alternative: how many persons have seen your boobs over some extended period of time.   

Now I'm not going to reveal any personal information; only some views from a discussion that my friends and I had on this topic while enjoying that original New Orleans girlie drink, Ramos Gin Fizzes!  One of them, yclept Jessica, was studying to be a lawyer.  She apparently channeled Bill Clinton in making her contributions.  (I heard that he very lawyerly split hairs over the meaning of the word "is.")

Jessica argued, "What do you mean by 'seen your boobs'?  Specifically, how would you categorize the following:

1.  Modest décollété?

2.  Severe décollété?

3.  Going braless and showing?

4.  Wearing form-fitting clothes?

5.  Exposure by accident, like a swimsuit malfunction?

6.  Culturally-permitted exposure?"

Now comes the question much-discussed among females of younger dating age: When is it okay to let him get to second base?*

I'll not bore you with the gory details, but I think that it is safe to acknowledge that women are not numerically-challenged, despite the general stereotype that goes around.  It's not just the odd girl who wanders into the calculus class** unsuspectedly; we all inhabit a world in which we think quantifiably.

But I will end by saying that we ramped up to Sazeracs, and somehow managed to play basketball at 1 A.M. instead of flashing the webcam on Bourbon Street.




* The consensus among Catholic girls is: not before the fifth time you go out.
**Calculus classes are great places to meet smart guys.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

If I Could Talk to Literary Characters

This is what I would say to:

 
Captain Ahab (Moby Dick) -- "You know, taking up golf would be less extreme; and there's always the 19th Hole."

Holden Caufield (The Catcher in the Rye)  -- "Man up and stop whining.  Or chick up, whatever.  If you can't make it as a catcher, try for an outfield position instead."

Madame Bovary -- "Don't take the arsenic.  Be an artist's mistress instead." 

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Predjudice) -- "Mr. Darcy is as stuffy as Mr. Collins.  Seduce and marry Mr. Bingley instead.  Never mind Jane."

Any Ernest Hemingway male character -- "Develop your feminine side a little."

Catullus -- "Clodia is a tart; and her brother Clodius is trouble.

Jane Eyre -- "Better get a job in sales instead."

 

D'Artagnan (The Three Musketeers)  -- "Choose your companions more carefully."

Hamlet -- "For Christ's sake, make up your mind and get off your duff!!!"

Macbeth -- "Most of the time, listen to your wife's advice.  This is not one of them."

Mr. Joyboy (The Loved One)  -- "You have unresolved Oedipal issues."
Daisy (The Great Gatsby) -- [song] "He's no good, he's no good.  The man's no good."

Henry Fleming (The Red Badge of Courage) -- "You might consider joining the National Guard instead."

Lorna Doone -- "Try thin mints, for a change.  They're a change of pace from shortbreads"

The Girls in Little Women --  "Loosen up; and stop being preacher's kids.  You're teens!!!!"

Tess Mognahan (a detective recurrently used by Laura Lippman):  "Tell your live-in boyfriend bye-bye; and take up with Jimmy McNulty instead.  But keep hm away from the Jameson's." 

Marlowe and Mr. Kurtz (The Heart of Darkness) -- "That's what you get for that weekend trip to Baton Rouge."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Renaissance Faire

For some reason, once years ago I managed to be on the wait staff at a Renaissance Faire dinner.  The occasion is based on those occasional Renaissance "Faires" (a common spelling used).  These can be thought of as like cosplay for middle-aged people in which they deck themselves out in costumes that can range from the Authurian to the Renaissance.  Strangely, there is a heavy attendance by lords and ladies, or Renaissance magnates or bishops.  Very few peasants or commoners.

There was a strange anachronism going on: on the same landscape we can see knights and ladies, Florentine courtiers, pirates, assorted kings and queens, and even the Three Musketeers.  Dumas would have been proud as to how Athos, Artemis, and Porthos got around, eating funnel cakes, watching belly dancers, and evil sorcerers. 

The wait staff was instructed to introduce themselves as "serving wenches," as in, "Good day, Gentles, My name is Clarissa and I am your serving wench."  When you're in a surreal setting, it's good to be surreal.  Didn't Hunter S. Thompson say something like that?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Learning to Act Your Age: Practical Courses for Continuing Education

Most average or larger colleges and universities have a Continuing Education department, offering short, practical courses to help professionals re-certify or to learn new skills.  Additionally, they offer hobby-related and coping with life courses, such as Basic Yoga and How to Effectively Parent.

It's become increasingly apparent, however, that many people have trouble making the necessary transitions from one stage to another.  These constitute a core market for this category of practical course.

Northern Ohio Community College is currently offering the following to met the apparent needs of their customer base:

1. Selecting a Proper Sugar Daddy

2. Releasing the Old Fart in You

3.  Elementary Battle Axe Studies

4.  Intermediate Battle Axe Studies

5.  Creative Use of the Television Remote

6.  Wheedling Your Parents to Let You Live in Their Basement

7.  Nagging for Beginners

8.  Elementary Stripping for Your Boyfriend

9.  Choosing the Starter Husband

10.  Bad Food and Sexual Deprivation:  Deaccessing the Starter Husband

11.  Choosing the Starter Wife

12.  Money Laundering for Dummies

13.  Embracing the Angst of Being Thirtysomething

14.  Feeling Up the Angst of Being Thirtysomething

15.  Dealing With the Disappointment of Not Having a Midlife Crisis

16.  Coping With an Uninteresting Midlife Crisis

17.  Basic Parental Nagging Skill Techniques

18.  Successful Cougar Strategies

19.  Selection of Bowling Costumes

20.  Basic Procrastination

21.  Advanced Procrastination

22.  Increasing Self-Indulgence for Twentysomethings

23.  Dealing with Generation X Persons: Not Just Your Older Siblings

24.  Yogi for beginners: Zen and the Art of Baseball Catching

25.  Advanced Journalism Snobbery

26.  Elementary Composting

Actually, new courses are being developed all the time.  But this list will help establish the flavor.  Take advantage of the offerings at YOUR Community College!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dee-Doh Thinks About Quitting the Team

My friend Dee-Doh got a fiat from his girlfriend, Jessica:  being on the track team is not enough; she wanted a boyfriend who was also on the football team for his boys' high school.  So, being the good sort that he is, he went out for spring training, and made it through the team roster cuts to make it on the team.  He became a second-string fullback, or some big muckety-muck position like that.  Anyway, spring training was easy and he felt that he could go out for the team and please Jessica the Demanding Shrew.  

You might say that Jessica had the upper hand in their relationship; and this is so totally expected, given that she comes from an old New Orleans family and apparently was taking dominatrix lessons at the community college in addition to being the bitch queen at my academy.

When football resumed with the practices in August, Dee-Doh got a rude surprise: two practices a day in the Louisiana heat!  Oh!  My!  God!  And Dee-Doh, bless his heart,  had more nerd tendencies than jock tendencies.  He didn't really like colliding against other guys during the game.  It gave him a headache; and he didn't enjoy being with Jessica as much as before.

And Jessica would give him criticism -- why didn't he elude that blocker, why no touchdowns, etc.  And the halftime locker room meetings were impossible, but he never said why.

And, darn it!  I missed him.  His time was eaten up by football, studying to keep up his grades, ministering to Jessica, and generally being tired.  It stopped being glorious for him by mid-September, but there were two more months and then the playoffs.

We had a brief time together; but long enough for him to express his ambivalence; no, he indicated that he was fed up with it all. 

I told him, "Quit the team; you're making yourself miserable."  But I warned him that his doing so would probably result in a girlfriendectomy.  I knew Jessica, you see.  And his rah-rah teammates and classmates would give him grief for being a quitter.

Anyway, a little deus ex machina entered the picture.  He was running with the ball, an infrequent experience, when he was bumped by another team's player and injured.  I met him just after he was carried off the field.  Anyway, I rode with an assistant coach who took him and his dad to the E.R.  His ankle was twisted and became swollen, but it was ultimately diagnosed as simply a sprain.  He was to be out for two, possible three weeks, and back for more fun and games, Catholic boy-style.

But where was Jessica?  Nowhere to be seen.  In effect, his little copine (moi) had to fill in the role of morale supporter instead of her. 

Shall we say that, with a little solicitude and counseling on my part, the sprain took longer for Dee-Doh to recover from than the initial diagnosis warranted.  Perhaps because I gave him acting lessons, he was able to convince his dad and his classmates that his sprain lasted longer than first expected and included complications.  He got quite good at getting around on crutches.  It took him longer to get over Jessica, unfortunately.



This is my 200th post in this blog.  I hope you've enjoyed some.

Angel

Friday, November 11, 2011

Playing "Footsie" in Social Research

There are guilty pleasures in psychology! Mine happens to be social psychology, which has oodles of fun research to amaze and amuse, as well as to provide reassurance that all is not bound up in physiological processes.

Daniel Wegner and his colleagues gave a previously-unacquainted man and a woman instructions covertly to play "footsie" under the table (keeping their feet in contact) while talking to two other strangers who were not covertly carrying on in the same manner. Other subjects played "footsie" overtly, with the knowledge of everyone around.

Afterwards, the participants were given a questionnaire.

According to the results, those covert "footsie" participants were more attracted to each other than were the ones touched each other's feet openly! Apparently, the secretiveness of it all heightened the implicit attraction associated with this semi-intimate action. Keeping this in mind, the old high school strategy of playing "footsie" with someone else's b.f. might be an effective strategy for "mate poaching," not that I ever did such a nefarious thing!

Reflecting back, many of the ordinary pleasures of adolescence involved getting away with something!
 
Wegener, D. M., Lane, J. D., and Dimitri, S. (1994). The nature of secret relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 782-792.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Should Be the Data for News and History?

This might be an idiotic question; but at what point does a factoid become worthy of being recorded in the news or the historical record?  Obviously, the big ones, if verified, should be there.  But what constitutes big?

Let me give what is hopefully an innocuous example.  Suppose President Obama truly likes Brussel sprouts; is that worthy of news?  Now I suppose that Brussel sprouts farmers may go, "Oh bother (or some other word).  Will this affect my business?"  And maybe Democratic mothers might pressure their offspring into eating said vegetables, saying that Barack Obama goes in for second helpings.  But is this news?  Really?*

But some examples are not so innocuous, such as in the area of private morality.  I'm not sure how several years ago a President's doings with chubby lasses became so important.  Oh yes, to be honest; I do. 

1.  It was lurid.  

2.  It was politically advantageous to make much ado about it.**

This even goes with what gets included in history.  I was reading about a British art critic and social thinker and his marital woes.  Apparently, he got married; and although he and his wife were married for seven years, they never consummated it.  Poor lady must have been disappointed.  Or relieved for a while, if we believe the myths that we have about the Victorian age.

Anyway, why did that not happen?  Three versions:

1.  He was a proper Victorian guy; and the only naked women he had seen were on Greek statues.  Therefore, he was put off by her pubic hair.  (OMG -- Would have the problem been solved if they had Brazilian waxes in those days?)

2.  He was impotent.

3.  His wife had an odor problem.

These versions were offered by different historians; attempting to fill in the gaps in what is known. 
But really, these are wild surmises; transforming jumping to conclusions into an Olympic event.  And whatever private anguish and sadness that participants in the story felt, there is damage done to their dignity. 

News and history does not have to be reduced to the tabloid level. 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Now Presidential food preferences may be a topic for some budding scholar's master's thesis.  There are some strange ones out there.
**"We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodic fits of morality."  -- Lord Macaulay.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gordon Ross, aka Ubergato

Gordon Ross, also known as Martin Wade, as the founder and moderator of Odd People, first a MSN group, and later on Yuku.  He was kind, strong, friendly, and encouraging to me and others.  He was a great person and a father figure in the best sense.   Today he would have been 65.

Gordon was a native of Baton Rouge.  He had served in the Army during the Viet Nam war.  Married but divorced.  He ran a housecleaning service in Jackson, MS.

I knew him strictly online; yet we regarded each others as good friends despite our age differences and other things.  He was a man of infinite kindness and patience.  He transcended his ill health in his later years by always seeing the brighter side of things.  If there is a Heaven, surely he rates a celestial crown and a harp!  (Although I suspect he would rather a trombone.)

I miss you, good friend.  You were one of the best!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Euphemism Goddess Meets With Pale Hecate

Euphemia, our Euphemism Goddess, already besieged by the creeping use of dysphemisms in everyday discourse, sensed that she was fighting at best a holding action against the rising tide of vulgarity in speech and manners.  First, there's the rise of use of the impudent gesture, even by Catholic maidens; then there's the seeming routineness of profanity even in the learned professions.  When is this to end?  The sheer number of neologisms or newly-emergent words that denote bodily functions or expressions of opproprium just stagger the imagination!  Also, there's that tired old bit of linguistic justification for their use: many of the old-style profane words (George Carlin's unsacred seven) were legitimate words when used by the Anglo-Saxons and therefore should not be considered profane.  Now, in my opinion, that is beside the point; languages change with the time.  All you have to do to experience that is to read the Prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.  (Or the Miller's Tale, if you're into vulgarity.)

Anyway Euphemia, the Goddess of Euphemism, approached Hecate, the Goddess of Darkness, Witchcraft, and Evil, to discuss this.  She requested a sit-down, and the possibility of some accomodation.  Actually, Hecate acknowledged the problem: the coin of profanity was of late as devaluated at the Euro or the Ruble.  This concerned her greatly as it diminished her realm too. 

The two Goddesses came to recognize that part of the problem was that ol' Debbil The Media, who enjoyed tweaking sensibilities of Republicans and manifesting their urbanite coolness with their insouisance regarding the decorum of language!  Some of that was in turn due to the relative lessoning of alcohol usage by reporters.  But another culprit was the lessened supervision of children during their formative years by adults.  And it all started with Clark Gable when he first used the "D" word in some movie.

One matter of concern was the sheer number of possible offensive terms that recently emerged.  There are so many now that it staggers the ability to keep up with them, and sometimes even cunning linguists in urban settings do not understand them.  For example, Hecate took Euphemia to task because of the term she introduced, little girls' room.  This term, while it was less offensive than those male-generated terms such as loo and head and crapper, became quickly a term used with ironic overtones.  And another point, euphemisms regarding breasts may become dysphemisms over time.  Sic transit gloria boob

They both were in agreement that some terms regarding women's anatomy should be forever regarded as beyond the pale.  We won't go into specifics here, though. 

And certain acts of lésé majesté should not ever, ever occur: no one should use those terms to refer to the President, Taylor Swift, or the Governors of Twenty-seven of the fifty states.  It is permitted, however, to be an verbally abusive as you wish when it comes to Congress, some of the governmental bureaucrats, or Nancy Grace.

An issue that was unresolved, pending further discussion, was the matter of abbreviations such as W.T.F. and B.S.  Euphemia took the position that their use was allowing profanity in through the back door, while Hecate suggested that there could be noncoarse alternatives that could call for those abbreviations, such as World Track Federation and Bachelor of Science.  And I'm in full agreement with this on the latter: labeling B.S. as profane further gives ammunition to the Liberal Arts contingent in colleges and universities.  Finally, both decided that the abbreviations were okay; after all, the best they could come up with for STFU was Same Time for Gilligan.

In the world of Goddesses, watching Gilligan's Island is mighty important.  After all, how else can they learn about mortals?

Euphemia (L) and Hecate (R)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

LSU



Geaux Tigers!

Stem the Tide!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What's Your Number?

According to the premise of the recent Anna Faris movie by that title, once a woman has had in excess of 20 sexual partners, her chances of ultimately getting married drop precipitously and she falls socially into the dreaded categry of "slut."  This rom-com, or sexy comedy has its faults, but it also raises some occasions for thought.


First of all, what is the mean number of sex partners a woman is likely to have over an extended period?  Typically, fewer than the number a man is likely to have.  One source put it at four; while the typical number for men is seven.  However, in the case of both sexes the mean number of sex partners is likely to be in the form of a skewed right distribution; like below, with the number of sex partners on the horizontal (X) axis and the frequency of cases on the vertical (Y) axis:


In other words, a small number of people of either gender account for having unusually large numbers of sexual partners.

If we stipulate that women who have more than 20 sexual partners over an extended career are less likely to marry, why is that the case?  I offer several reasons:

1.  She's looking for love in all the wrong places.  Specifically, finding guys who are interested in a only in a short-term liasion (cads).

2.  She might be using the wrong criteria in finding mates: ignoring some who are sleepers who might be more stable and good quality husband in preference to those merely with one kind of skill.

3.  Her judgment might be impaired due to alcohol, drugs, or stupidity.  Or some combination of these.

4.  She may have certain traits (physical, behavioral, or character) that preclude her being in any permanent relationship.  In other words, by "being easy" she does get to go out.

5.  Finally, she may be a short-term player also.

But there is a fundamental flaw in the assumption:  namely, that you can precisely define 'slut.'  Well, it does use an operational criterion, so it does meet one scientific criterion.  Just as a curiosity, you can Ride the SLUT in Seattle without shame or blame.  SLUT is a local acronym from South Lake Union Transit.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Pill

Recently, some interesting findings were reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  Psychologist Craig Roberts and his Czech and Scottish fellow researchers found that, based on a sample of 2,500 women, those who were on birth control pills when they met a man were more likely to stay in that relationship than those no using contraception or using others forms of contraception.  They were, however, less likely to find the men they were partnered with to be sexually satisfying.

An obvious effect of The Pill is that it evens out menstrual cycle-related hormonal variations; and these can affect how women judge men as potential mates.   For example, studies have shown that women prefer more masculine men during ovulation than at other times of the month -- because the more strikingly obvious a man's physical traits are, the more successful he is likely to be as a breeder.  At other times of the month, women are less drawn towards muscular hunks as  average-looking guys with  steady jobs, better financial prospects, and pleasant dispositions.

Further evidence indicates that women might engage in more sexually-inviting behaviors around the time of ovulation, even though neither she nor potential males are aware of her condition.  For example, Geoffrey Miller and his associates found that lap dancers received sigificantly larger tips around the time of their ovulation.  These greater-sized tips may have been prompted by more overt affectionate behaviors.

Roberts also found that oral contraceptives can also alter women’s preferences for men’s body odor.  When a woman is on the Pill, she is more likely to prefer the odor of men who are more genetically similar to them; but if she is off the pill, she's more attracted to the odor of men who are genetically less similar to her during ovulation.  This preference towards genetic different guys may be because any resulting babies are more likely to be healthy.

What a choice: more marital stability and so-so sex; or less stability but really hot sex while it happens.  Actually, sex is only one of the reasons for partnering: there's companionship, common interests, love, economic factors, mutual desire for children, and other things.

So what is there to learn from this?

I see several things.

1.  We should never discount basic biology in explaining human motives; even though we might not always be pleased by its implications. 

2.  A woman on the Pill may, paradoxically, be a factor leading to more family stability and harmony.  Very clearly, if a woman chooses more wisely a mate, this is a good thing.  Now this is a Family Values matter, one that should be attractive to both Democrats and Republicans!

3.  Also, strictly from the woman's position, this means that she may be less likely to select a jerk

4.  Many of the differences might be explained by other factors.  Let's face it, the more overtly masculine fellows usually have more opportunity for sex.  Therefore, they are at a later stage in the sexual learning curve.  However, with patience, love, and effective communication of mutual desires and needs, this sexual pleasure gap might be closed.  Therefore, the initially dismaying interpretation might be less unpleasant than was first seen.

 
5.  As ishy as it might sound, there seems to be an olfactory dimension in sexual attraction.  Actually, Napoleon may have noted this 200 years ago; he wrote to Josephine, "Don't wash, I'm coming home!"

6.  Lastly, we need to accept the limitations to our rationality in decision-making.