Nature’s Child

The other day in the diner on Facebook we got to talking about whatsherface Emma Watson and her speech to the UN.

There was a picture of her in the ridiculous dress she wore to some award, and the women of course started discussing the dress and the men started discussing her looks and then one of the women – and understand I’m not mad at her, this reaction is by way of being a conditioned reflex among educated women these days – chided that we only cared about a woman’s appearance, more than about her utterances and we never did that for men.

My first reaction – I too am an educated woman – was “yeah, why?” particularly since I never in my life cared much for what women look like and I have only marginal interest in what they wear, unless it’s a meat dress or something else that makes your jaw drop open and makes you go “Is that a cry for help?”

My second reaction was “Wait, that’s built in.”

Recently, and I apologize I’m not going to look for this (for one the study was social sciences and so poppycock, except for where it fit things we all know – hold on to that, it’s important) there was a study that proved that lesbians cared less about their appearance than gay men did.

This is because of one of those things that, unless you make your profession out of being in someone else’s head (a lot of someone else’s heads) convincingly as writers’ do, it’s hard to understand. I know because I’ve told my sons this about a bazillion times, but they don’t fully understand it. And they’re smarter than the average bear.

Here it is, the secret and tragedy of the human race: Man and women aren’t the same. Gender is NOT a social construct, no matter what some madwoman in the seventies came up with to justify her lesbianism (why she needed to justify it is beyond me.) Your gender goes beyond what’s between your legs. It starts with hormone baths early in pregnancy that shape both what’s between your legs and your brain and nervous system.

Note I’m not saying it’s black and white. Older son, whose degree (one of them) is on human biology says that sometimes it’s a miracle humans work at all considering everything that goes infinitesimally off plan every step of the way. Depending on what your mother was eating, and what temperature it was outside and things we can’t even know about, those hormones might be calibrated a little closer to the other side. I tend to test as having a male brain (but I keep it in a jar in my desk and the statute of limitations has run out) on most tests that distinguish that. Considering that I was born very premature, who knows what went wrong there?

But whatever hormones you got that were enough to shape unambiguous genitalia, you can generally guarantee you’re closer to your external gender than to the other one. (Again outliers do happen, but they happen in infinitesimal degrees. I might prefer physics over chemistry, i.e. reasoning over memorization, as the sciences are taught at high school level (I know it’s different further on) but I still have screwed up visual perception, and can’t visualize anything in three dimensions, in which cases I have “extreme female brain.”)

This is not a big deal. Note that “different” doesn’t mean “worse.” If you’re putting that construction on having a female brain, then the problem is yours. For instance, one of the salient characteristics of the female brain is memory, because estrogen helps with memory. (Go figure.) This, gentlemen, is why we remember EXACTLY when you promised to mow the lawn, and why are you on that sofa with that book. (Oh, wait, it’s my book? Never mind.)

But the place where all of this comes to a head, where things for heterosexual (and if that study is right, homosexual) males and females really bifurcates is the things that attract us.

Men are more visual than women. Remember, I didn’t say this was better or worse. Just different. Men’s attraction is mostly predicated on visual signals, and many of them have nothing to do with those faces that women spend so much time fixing up. They spend time fixing them up because women look at faces. And no, this isn’t a crack at men looking at breasts. The signals are more subtle than that. One of the attraction signals, apparently, is the difference in size between waist and hips. So if you wish to attract a guy you’d be better off washing off the makeup and cinching that corset.

This is evolutionary. Men are designed to prowl the world looking for young and fertile women and impregnating them.

Now, we’re not in the caves, so sane men look for other things too, but the signal for attractiveness in females is there, buried in the back brain with “things that make woman have Og’s babies.”

Women’s signals of attraction are harder to quantify. Yes, we care for appearance too, but only insofar as our guy’s appearance will make other women jealous. This is why movie stars, etc. are such powerful attractants: because the media have convinced us everyone wants them.

Other things that are powerful attractants are: success in a field you’re interested in; money; signs of stability and kindness.

This too makes perfect evolutionary sense. The impregnatable woman is looking for signs that Og will not only stick around when she’s pregnant (stability and kindness) but also that he’ll be able to provide much mammoth grease to chew on those cold winter nights.

Of course, we’re also not in the caves, so this mutates to “leader of the band” type signals.

However, no matter how far we’ve come or how far we go yet, humans come from very far. These signals were shaped over tens of thousands of years. They’re buried in our psyches, deep. Compared to these signals, the amount of time humans have been civilized – let alone conscious about “gender equality” – is the blink of an eye.

You can’t completely overcome the deep programing. You can moderate it. Most men I know don’t run around trying to impregnate twenty year olds all their life. They do that for a time then settle down and raise kids and the ability to talk to their wives becomes more important than the waist/hip ratio.

And most women I know don’t run around being groupies for rich and famous guys. They settle down with something they can make a life with.

It’s taken millennia of civilization and conscious education and religious preaching to get us where we are. You want to see countries the males have it all their own way look to the Arab countries. You want to see a place girls rule, look to middle school. Neither are happy places.

However, unless you don’t believe in evolution, you’ll see there are things you can’t combat and which remain. Like, when men look at a woman, no matter whether she’s saying world-saving things, they’re going to first say “Oh, gads, did she have a boob job?”

And when women look at a woman, no matter what she has to say, they’re going to say “Her teeth are like a ferret’s. And where did she get that dress?”

This is because the male back brain is looking at the body FIRST and the female back brain is looking at “signals of potential rival first.”

(There is a way to short circuit that, btw. If you’re matronly and middle aged, those signals do not come up first, UNLESS you’re something special in the way of ugly, like Helen Thomas. This is probably because, judging by our nearest primate relatives, our brain has a setting for “matriarch of the band.” And those aren’t judged on appearance though they might be judged on the size of their family.)

Do we do the same for men? Not nearly. But that’s because of the evolutionary choosing mechanism. What men look like doesn’t matter as much as what they say, because men are judged on power and ability to support.

Is this unfair?

Oh, of course it is. Life is unfair. We’re a dual species, in which only one gender bears the burden of carrying the babies, while the other gender in civilized circumstances has to bear the burden of a partner whose movement and health is diminished while bearing the babies. This might not seem like much for women in present day, but imagine being very pregnant and having to trek between summer and winter camps, hundreds or thousands of miles, with dangerous animals on the way.

Was the man’s caring for you as onerous as your pregnant-trek? In some places probably. But here’s the important thing: it was never about fairness. Evolution doesn’t care about fairness. G-d, if you believe in Him, also doesn’t. Obviously He doesn’t or we’d all be alike with equal chances and equipment for salvation.

Fairness is not only a human value but possibly a human handicap.

And we weren’t designed by humans. We might be in the process of taming ourselves, but we’re early in that process.

What I mean is, when we get that first impulse to judge a woman on looks? Normal. Everyone is like that.

The quick correction, the quick guilt of “I shouldn’t be doing that” is wrong. Humans are humans.

“But Sarah, you said we’d tamed ourselves. Shouldn’t we tame ourselves too to listen to a woman first, before looking at her?”

Yeah? There’s one way to do that. It’s called a radio. And even then, men will listen for sexiness and women for social status.

Look, what I’m trying to say is this – we humans can overcome our instincts. Obviously. But there was something for the caveman in looking for the one (or two if he was a really good hunter) woman who had his babies. As humans’ maturation became a longer and longer process, which allowed for more and more information to be passed on to the new generation, so did the “expense” of raising them. For that man to pass his genes on, he needed to make sure the woman didn’t starve. This was evolutionarily sound. A change in strategy, but sound.

OTOH what good is there to berating a man for looking at a woman first, instead of listening to her?

There is a good, or entire institutions wouldn’t be built on this concept of “making men and women not act according to their instinctive response.”

I’ll tell you. The merchants of fairness – not at the street level, where it’s just people like me who learned it in college – are playing for very high stakes indeed. They think they can remake humans.

You see, their system requires perfectly unselfish humans who work for ‘the community’ and this requires perfect fairness, a value never found in nature. On the way there, they have to get in your head and change every instinctive reaction, every thought.

The added bonus for those who know you can’t actually rebuild humans that quickly (it would take millennia and perfect selection ability) it has the advantage of making everyone feel guilty All the time. Which lends credence to the cries of victimhood and injustice. All the time.

You look at an actress delivering a speech to the UN (and why was she picked? It certainly wasn’t for her brain. What is she famous for? Right, her looks and the ability to emote on camera. Um…) and you think “that dress is awful, and why did she do that to her hair.” And, male or female, you immediately feel guilty of sexism. And then when the merchants of equality come around and berate you on patriarchy, you feel guilty, and you know that sexism is indeed rampant. You know it instinctively.

Is sexism rampant? Not in the US. There is a difference between your instinctive evaluation and the back brain and hiring decisions. That’s a conscious thing, and most sane people try to make it from learned principles which include fairness.

BUT you can’t suppress your immediate, instinctive response. At most you can deny it. And because you’re denying it, you feel compelled to preach to others to deny it to and to work for those people who say they can suppress it.

This “remaking of mankind” is not hypocrisy. Hypocrisy in the social sense is pretending to be better than you are – but you don’t have to deny who you are. Not internally.

This is more of the spreading of a low-grade neurosis over all of society. It’s intentionally making people feel guilty for being people.

It is a lever for those who scream that society must be “fair”. And yet they create neo-feudal dystopias when given their head, note, because someone must be there to continuously ensure fairness, and it certainly can’t be you, you sexist pig.

We need to understand two things “life isn’t fair. Kindergarten is.”

“Every human is different.” Yes, women are physically weaker than men. And I can tan, and my husband can’t (though weirdly, he doesn’t burn either.) And he can think in quadratic equations, and I need paper to do long division. And I can remember complex events from history, and he needs to be reminded what appointment he has on Wednesday.

This doesn’t make him better or me better. We’re just different.

And he’s going to look any comely female over. And I’m going to snark her dress or hair (actually I usually snark her word choice. I’m not visual at all.)

Try to be the best you can for your fellow men, but stop berating yourself for not being perfect. Stop feeling guilty. Stop making others feel guilty.

This project of turning humans into perfectly equal automatons was doomed from the beginning. It has filled 100 million graves and it has created societies in which normal people are watched continually by power-hungry loons (Have you watched The Lives of Others? No? You should.)

It has created societies like Cuba in which, with the wide ocean filled with seafood all around, they starve and the agents of their government, instead of doing something about it, search people’s shopping bags every so often, to make sure they’re not getting more shrimp than anyone else.

We are not equal. We weren’t designed to be equal. It could be argued that’s what makes life worth living.

Enjoy who you are. Enjoy who others are.

And stop with the guilt over what you could never be.

Next time you start feeling guilty for looking a woman over or for making fun of another woman’s attire, remember it’s evolutionary.

Why give anyone permission to remake humanity in their own, neurotic image?




459 thoughts on “Nature’s Child

      1. Of course, being men, some (at the very least) only saw “touch” “feminine” and “side…” *chuckle*

        1. The really funny thing is, after they stop spasming and twitching from the effects of the tazer, all they get from the experience is “hey, she paid attention to me!” Evolution, I am disappoint.

  1. I tend to test as having a male brain (but I keep it in a jar in my desk and the statute of limitations has run out) …

    Shhhhhh. I keep telling you – the statute of limitations hasn’t run in Alabama.

    1. That’s because the statute ate too much fried chicken and biscuits and gravy and can’t run anywhere anymore.

      1. No. I DO have the heart of a fantasy writer. (My second agent refused to submit DST because “I feel you have the heart of a fantasy writer.) But it’s lost somewhere in this office.

              1. I rather get the impression that this the the normal state of us, prior to morning coffee.

                On that note, trying to find the description of how Neil Gaiman supposedly goes around prior to having coffee, I ran across a … few interesting coffees described in TVTropes.

                One is Black Blood Of The Earth, and the other is called Death Wish Coffee. (you may need to google the other.)

                It makes me… smile.

    1. Because she’s cute, well known, and reasonably well spoken. Those are the usual requirements for a goodwill ambassador-type gig.

    2. Emma Watson’s appearance (both literally and visually) guarantees that there will be ample press coverage.

  2. Ah, the one where there’s a study as to why lesbian women have a tendency to be obese.

    Interestingly enough, when I linked that on my LJ, a friend of mine who is a transsexual said that it had to do a lot with some subcultures in the LGBT groups, and in the L-groups have a fat acceptance thing going on (along with a chunk of feminist defiance about ‘standard modes of beauty’). (Note: I’m probably getting a bunch of details wrong because it’s almost 2 am here, my brain is fried from squinting at Photoshop brushes for several hours, and it was a convo some weeks or so ago) but anyhoo, there’s a tendency of gay men to care more about their appearance because there’s still that masculine ‘thing’ about wanting their partners to look good and attractive – so they work more at being fit and well dressed.

    Well, that’s the gist of it that I remember. But the explanation dovetails quite neatly with the bad experiences had with those college radical feminist guest lecturers. “Beauty” = patriarchy thingy therefore = ‘rawr! reject!’

    It’s still one of those mindsets where I puzzle over the oxymoronic nature of ‘we are accepting of less than perfect women because we are more open-minded’ or somesuch and yet ‘hate’ pretty women.

    Ahhh. it’s too far past midnight for me to ponder that illogic for too long.

    We’re all different. Some of us just learn to deal with that better than others.

    1. “We’re all different. Some of us just learn to deal with that better than others.”
      I have found that those of “alternate” lifestyles (read Gay/Lesbian) who deal with it better than others are also the ones most people don’t realize are “alternates”, or are those far less annoying about it than the others like the lesbian I once worked with who said “You just hate me because I’m a dyke”
      No, I am quite certain it was the fact she was an insufferable ass that caused my dislike, and when I told her that, I guess she thought about it as she was slightly less aggressive towards me and even asked me to check out a car she planned to buy. Of course Less in her manner was still annoying as all get out, but it was more tolerable. Do so love demands to be civil from those who refuse to be in any way civil towards others.

      1. Had a conversation like that with someone, once. My response was a very genuine “Oh… You’re gay? I had no idea… I just thought you were an asshole.”.

        Which pretty much put an end to that particular conversation.

        Later on, said jackass came around to me and inquired “You really didn’t know I was gay…?”, to which I replied “Neither knew nor cared–None of my business, so far as I can tell…”. They still couldn’t process the idea.

        What I’ve noticed is that a lot of these folks automatically default to an adversarial mode, even when its not justified. Which, in a few cases, have made me wonder just how “genuine” they are in their sexual role choices–When you seek to define yourself by being transgressive, what better choice in our society than to identify as either gay or lesbian? Which came first, the confrontational adversarial personality seeking to justify its rage, or the sexual choice?

        I’d be willing to bet that if we ever succeed in removing the emotional value from our sexual choices, we’re going to find out that there are a lot fewer “genuine” gays and lesbians out there. When you can’t get the “transgressive value” out of your sexual choices, it will be time to move onto something else.

        When you think about it, the real choice isn’t between whether you like boys or girls, its the one between “Will I be an asshole, or not?” All too many of our gay and lesbian communities have chosen the first option as their primary role in life, and their sexual choices seem to flow more from that than any real desire for the same-sex relationships in their lives.

        Which is oddly congruent with what a gay friend once told me about how he picked the men he was attracted to–The angry ones did nothing for him, because in his words “Those guys aren’t gay, they’re mad at the world, and getting back at it by being gay…”.

        1. “Those guys aren’t gay, they’re mad at the world, and getting back at it by being gay…”

          Tangental to this thought, I have a theory that there are – for lack of a better term – Narcissus-s. People who cannot love anybody but themselves. I came up with this because my Wife’s uncle Alexi appeared to be this way. He abused her as a child, presented as Gay during the brief time I knew him (slightly), and I am convinced that his Gayness was simply a matter of Gays being more willing to put up with his antics. He was a user. He is the only person I’ve known to any degree personally who died of AIDS, and he richly deserved to. He was a low level sexual predator; he didn’t kill, but he took advantage of and left emotional wreckage in his wake. Every one of his (Gay) Partners that I ever heard of had a breakdown and left him with the alacrity of somebody who has just realized they were sleeping with a poisonous snake.

          I think there are a lot of people like this in the Gay subculture, and that this is one of the reasons that that subculture keeps erupting in behavior calculated to alarm the neighbors. To wit; the Narcissi know that if Gays are ever generally accepted, THEY will be cast out … because THEY are self-centered assholes who hurt everyone around them.

          The idiot at the Gay Pride Parade with the exposed pierced nipples? He’s a Narcissus. The moron academic writing that Gay Liberation is forwarded by “Transgressive Sex Acts” (meaning young boys, scat, blood, and similar shenanigans calculated to get the neighborhood in an uproar) is a Narcissus. Hugh Hefner is a Narcissus, and his championing of “Sexual Liberation” was a way of taking advantage of both society and countless young women. And we bought it for a long time, until first Herpes and then AIDS dropped the bottom out of that revolution, and society started making fun of the kind of men who tried to live the Playboy life.

          And the low level predators jumped ship to the Gay subculture because the Gays were too insecure to call them on behavior they couldn’t get away with with young women anymore.

          1. That resonates with a lot of what I’ve observed, as well.

            It’s my opinion that sex and sexuality ought to be peripheral to one’s identity, as opposed to the sole focus of it. I like your name for those who obsess and over-emphasize sex, but I think there’s a subtle nuance the term Narcissi misses–It is not just the self-gratification that is the issue with these people, it is also the over-emphasis on sexuality, period. Gay, straight, whatever–When most of your life is focused on getting laid, and you’re more concerned with the conquest than anything else, something is fundamentally wrong with your approach to sex and sexuality. The syndrome is common to all variants of sexuality, but seems to be more prevalent the more transgressive the orientation.

            Which is why you don’t see too many heterosexual festivals that are the equivalent of the goings-on in San Francisco during the Gay Pride debaucheries.

            1. I have listened my whole life to people generally accepted as smart assert that “The Victorians” or various other historical groups “sublimated” their sex drives into other enterprises and were, in consequence, neurotic messes. And I have the growing suspicion that, instead, modern man has sublimated his drives to build, to explore, to civilize, and so forth into the endless pursuit of casual sex.

              I wouldn’t ant to live in the Victorian Era, but I would be delighted to see the return of a tiny bout of what has been called “Victorian Sexual Hypocrisy”, and which is am more and more certain was simply recognizing that the sexual impulse was really not all that important. Hard to ignore, yes. Potentially destructive, yes. But nothing profound.

                1. I have taken to saying to in-my-face Gay activists, “so, what you do in the bedroom is none of my business. Then f’crissake KEEP it none of my business by not dressing in public in ways that make what you do in bed impossible to not picture.”

                  1. Probably too late for anyone to ever read this, but…
                    This is a legitimate place to insert the usually sarcastic “heteronormative”. Straight women dress like that all the time; yoga pants(*) at work?! Straight couples act like that all the time. I see gay couples holding hands very rarely; straight couples many times per day.

                    I have no issue with the “don’t dress/act in public in ways that make what you do in bed impossible to not picture” rule, but it is violated by straight people FAR more often than gays. It’s likely that you just don’t notice because it is “normal”.

                    (*) Best burka I’ve ever seen was made out of that material and CLUNG. You couldn’t see any flesh, but there was nothing left to the imagination. Nice rebellion.

                    1. Holding hands? Really? That is no problem whoever you are. I don’t care if what you identify yourself as.

                      But I am not a voyeur. I don’t care what combination we are talking, hands should not be down anyone’s pants in public. Nor do I consider knock offs of Tim Curry’s corset costume (worn by either sex) street ware. Cos-play at con maybe, but street ware no.

                      I wistfully wait for that day when private lives once again are private.

                    2. Has been here before.
                      I sort of understand the issue if you’re not in the US. In Portugal you find young hetero couples crawling down each other’s throats at street corners. Here… not so common.

                    3. It ain’t the PDA from non-heteronormatives that be the problem, it is the PDA casually practiced by one and all. As we were once wont to say: Git a room!

                    4. Vaguely remember I heard that justified by places where everyone lived with their parents until they were 40, and there were no hotels.

                      Here… well, even if there’s no hotel, there are Quiet Places you can Go.

                2. Y’know… I was doing something else, and letting my mind wander. What it came up with was kinda in line with this line of discussion, namely the Victorians and the change in social mores since then.

                  Let us posit first a personification of the zeitgeist of a period. The living embodiment of the “spirit of the age”, much as the French have their Marianne. What did that personification look like, for the Victorians? Some classical beauty, perhaps one of the various statues of Britannia?

                  Soooo… Dangerous and disturbing thought: What the hell would a personification of our era look like?

                  1. Miley Cyrus, sticking her tongue out? Lena Dunham, sticking her whatever out?

                    Weimar Germany is looking like the modern standard.

        2. I’d be willing to bet that if we ever succeed in removing the emotional value from our sexual choices, we’re going to find out that there are a lot fewer “genuine” gays and lesbians out there. When you can’t get the “transgressive value” out of your sexual choices, it will be time to move onto something else.

          That’s an interesting observation and it makes a lot of sense.

          1. I once upset a gay friend when I told him “Unless you are actively trying to f@#$ me, I don’t care and its none of my business. If you are trying to f@#$ me, that’s my wife’s department and you have to negotiate with her.”

        3. “When you can’t get the “transgressive value” out of your sexual choices, it will be time to move onto something else.”

          I suspect this even more strongly for transsexuals. I have heard people solemnly saying that they have always known, deep down inside, that there was something wrong about them. . . which leads to the suspicion that they fixed on that as an explanation.

          1. Which is probably why the suicide rate is so high for post-op transexuals, Because they spent all that time and money and pain and ruined their bodies and found out they are still the exact same miserable person they started out as.

              1. No argument there. I recall seeing some show (Something like a Taxicab confessional) with a pre-op prostitute (so many of them get into “sex work” it makes you wonder if that’s another aspect of their self-esteem issues) and said that he/she would never go all the way because once they snip, you will never have another orgasm in your life.

                Funny how you never hear that normally mentioned when they tell us how sexually brave and pioneering transgendered are.

                No wonder they kill themselves.

                  1. That is my contention. I do understand some people feel more like the other gender. I DO. Some of them it’s because they have a very rigid definition of what a gender is. Others, for whatever reason, are a real mismatch of inside and outside. But we simply don’t have the technology to fix that. Maybe we will someday, should there be Time Enough For Love. For now, though, what we CAN do amounts to mutilation!

                    1. Frankly, what most transgendered men present as feminine usually comes off as some kind of exaggerated caricature of femininity. Like a Drag Queen almost. I’m not sure if any woman ever acted that way.

        1. Pretty much. I’ve always been rather suspicious of people who wrap so much of their identity into their sex lives. It’s like the “purely hetero” swingers, who are out doing the wife swapping and all the really weird fetish stuff. Something’s not quite right, there, with any of them.

          If all you’ve got to identify with in your life is your sexuality, the issues surrounding it, and your self-gratification, something is severely out of whack with your mentality. However it manifests itself, either in swinging or in choosing a stereotypical “gay bathhouse” lifestyle, there are similarities I find that indicate a very similar set of mental aberrations.

          I think at some point, most “normal” people take a look at what’s in between their legs, realize that they’re a boy or a girl, and then conduct themselves accordingly. They don’t over-think the issue, and wrap their heads around any apparent contradictions.

          Then, there are other people who obsess over trivialities, warping their entire lives around things other people don’t even pay attention to. Big ‘effing deal… You saw a nice rear end, with long hair, thought it was a chick, felt attraction, and then it turned out to be a guy. Normal people laugh at themselves a little, and go, “Oh, wow… Was that guy’s appearance off, or what…?”. Obsessives say to themselves: “Gee… I thought that guy’s ass was hot… I must be gay…”.

          Which is quite literally how a guy in my high school class concluded he was gay, an identity he was never comfortable with, and didn’t really believe in. Last I heard, he’d “come out straight” in his thirties, and was much happier. Perfect example of someone who over-thought things, right there…

          Which is not to say that there aren’t folks who are honestly, really, and truly attracted to the same sex. I know a few of those, and they’re the ones who usually tell you that “I’ve always just known…”. No question there, with those folks. And, to be honest? They’re usually some of the nicest people I know, and who’ve never made a point of putting things in anyone’s faces. They’re just people who happen to be gay or lesbian, as opposed to those who’ve “made a choice in their lives…”, and made themselves militant assholes while they’re at it.

          You run into that same sort of thing with inter-racial relationships. On the one hand, you have your cases of “true love”, and then you have your white girls who date/marry black guys to piss off their fathers or the black guy who’s getting back at whitey by dating/marrying a white girl. I always feel sorry for the decent partner in these relationships, if there is one. Sometimes, it’s a positive joy to meet a couple of people who’re both assholes, and who’ve each found someone to make them miserable. The mis-matches still disturb me, though–Especially when the one partner is totally oblivious to the real reason their significant other is with them.

          I’d love to start a dating service that had the unspoken ethos of “Let’s match the assholes with each other… Why? Because, they deserve each other…”. I’m not sure how the hell you’d go about selecting them, though. Popular acclaim? Personality tests? Recommendations of former partners?

          1. And then there’s the people who are well-intentioned about it. Like the guy I saw on a comment board who said he specifically married someone of a different race in order to demonstrate the racial reconciliation of the Gospel.
            I thought to myself, “You’re doing it wrong.”

            1. Yeah, I’ve seen that one, too.

              The cases that really throw me for a loop are the ones where the one partner who did it for the “wrong reasons” is perfectly up-front about it in front of the other half of the relationship, and that person is perfectly OK with it, and doesn’t feel like they’re being let down/abused/wronged. That’s just… Weird, with a capital “W”. And, it feels really, really wrong.

              Two examples off the top of my head–Super-militant, super-assholish black supremacist who married a white girl that he was constantly putting down for being white, and who he made a point of telling that he was only with her because he was taking revenge for all those generations of blacks who’d been oppressed by “the Man”. He did this in front of other people, white and black, and made no concessions to polite behavior with her, treating her disrespectfully and rudely whenever the opportunity arose. I mean, it was so bad that other black guys took him aside and chewed his ass for being such a jackass, and black women in the group were coming up and berating him for it, while taking his wife’s side. And, her? Water off a duck’s back, no issues with it whatsoever–“That’s just Clyde… He doesn’t mean it…”.

              Then, there was that acquaintance of mine who married a Korean girl, because he didn’t like “uppity American women”. He apparently didn’t realize that she was perfectly fluent in English, because he’d constantly be going on and on about how she was the perfect subservient wife, always doing what he wanted, etc., etc., ad infinitum. To include details of their sex life (in front of her, no less…) that I wouldn’t have shared with my priest, if I was Catholic. And, she had no issues whatsoever with it, at all. It wasn’t like she was some poor, green-card seeking farm girl who wanted life in a modern country, either–She was a college-educated girl from Seoul who had large swathes of her family here in the US, and had gone to school over here. Talking to her around him, it was all pidgin, all the time–Meet her in another context, and her English was better than mine.

              Both cases, I have no flippin’ idea what the hell the women in those relationships was getting out of it all. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find out that the husbands in both examples were secretly submissives getting the living snot whipped out of them on a daily basis by their sexually-dominant wives, though–There was a really strangely similar vibe in both cases, and one I’ve never been able to figure out. I’m just not wired that way–I can’t “get” the whole “cruel and abusive to be kind” thing, from either direction.

              1. Actually the Asian match doesn’t surprise me much. Especially if she was raised in Seoul. It is a cultural thing in most Asian cultures for the woman to be submissive to her husband. And this is often visible even in those women raised in the US, if they are raised by traditional parents. It usually takes a couple of generations to disappear completely.

                1. Also, escaping Korea. Oldest brother has lots of stories from when he was over there in the ’80s. Stuff you would not believe. Life is dirt cheap, even for those raised in Seoul. A verbally abusive and disrespectful American husband could be much better than her options in South Korea…where even as an adult she could be taken and sold into slavery to pay off a family government debt. Or kicked out into a snowstorm in the middle of Winter while in labor because she was going to give birth to a half-breed (my brother & two medics delivered that baby in the back of the medic track).

          2. Obsessives say to themselves: “Gee… I thought that guy’s ass was hot… I must be gay…”.

            This is exacerbated by the fashion trend of emphasizing prepubescent girls whose hips have yet to develop, rendering them more boy-like in appearance.

            Some have speculated that this is due to the preponderance of gays in the women’s fashion industry, although I know of no evidence in support of the assumption that gays are over-represented in the field. It may merely be that they are more open about being gay.

            1. From a brief, very close up observation (got dragged in to model in a Pitoy Moreno fashion show in Paris because they needed someone short and the model they usually used for that stint of the show was sick. I wasn’t the only one, because I found to my surprise my father’s aide there, looking very grumpy because he had lots of work he needed to do, poor Chester.), there are two types of gays in the industry.

              The first is the kind that delight in female beauty. Absolutely delight in it. Or heck, loveloveloveLOVE beauty, period. They love and enjoy making people look good and feel good about themselves.

              The second despise female beauty because it’s something they can never have, or be, in their heads, even with surgery.

              A subset of these are the ‘I don’t care I’m doing stuff that’s artistic and the models, male or female, are just mannequins for my visions.’ I didn’t run into this type personally, but that’s the only reason I can come up with for some of the eyebrow-raising ‘creations’ that I see on some runways.

              (That was a fun night. People thought I was a pro, with the ‘queenly, distant look’ I was ‘carrying off to perfection.’ I wonder what they would have thought if I let on it was because I was trying not to trip or walk off the runway by mistake because I couldn’t see and didn’t have my glasses…)

                    1. Heh, well, I took a photo of the photo. It’s probably one of the few where I’m smiling. The others didn’t – I was too busy concentrating, thinking to myself “don’t trip don’t trip don’t trip, don’t lose the shoes that don’t fit my feett either.”

              1. ” I couldn’t see and didn’t have my glasses…)”

                Ah, the thousand-yard stare that is really just unfocused disorientation … I’m on close terms with that one 🙂

                1. XD I still chuckle at the ‘queenly gaze’ I ‘bestowed’ on everyone (from someone who was surprised to find out I was yanked in to join the show and was originally supposed to be just a spectator). Yeah, intense concentration of ‘don’t trip on the floor length gown with a train’ is totally me being all ‘queenly’.

              2. From The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:

                A song written by Kaye’s wife, Sylvia Fine — punchline at about 3’20”.

              3. I don’t know about “queenly”, but I certainly have put on the distant (or perhaps that’s vacant) look when doing something I’m not familiar with. Often it’s when I’m learning some new physical skill: I focus on the body parts needed for the skill and nearly forget about the rest of me, and you could plop a naked woman holding sparklers in front of me and it would take 10 seconds or more to notice her.

            2. Gays *and women* in the fashion industry.

              Oh, and the guy who was responsible for the Playboy centerfold layouts, at least in 96-99. Before/after that I have no clue.

          3. ““Let’s match the assholes with each other…”

            I don’t know if you could increase the rate at which it happens, but if you ever want to see it, go to a place like New Hope PA (Tourist town, self-consciously “Arty”, strong Gay subculture, strong bar-hopping Hetero subculture.). I worked at a store in New Hope for a couple of years, and my Mother-in-Law owns another store there. It’s a freaking soap-opera, complete with drama queens of at least four and maybe as many as six sexes. It’s like watching the slow-motion wreck of a circus train that inexplicably was carrying whatever deranged group inspired the imagery from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

            But live out of town, or you won’t get any sleep.

          4. Knew the opposite in school. years later he said he wasn’t looking to shock me but he was openly gay … I told him that, well, I pretty much figured that out in middle school, when one of the better looking girls in school walked up behind him as he was telling us a story, and she rifled all his pockets, including digging deep in the fronts looking for candy and his voice never missed a beat, he never looked shocked or surprised.
            Then he shocked me … he admitted he had gotten married and had a daughter.
            Sadly as she grew, the daughter grew to hate his gayness and they had a troubled relationship. As he quipped to me “Could have saved me a lot of trouble if someone had told me back then I was gay.”

            1. The trouble with his daughter doesn’t completely surprise me – lots of people have observed the special relationship of fathers & daughters, some have hypothesized it’s related to the daughter wanting/needing a role model for her future mate selection.

          5. One of my wife’s and my friends in the SCA has a persona whose dress is pretty fancy, with the bright-colored short shirt with poufed shoulders, and tight leggings. Yesterday, at an event, he was walking by and I turned to my wife and told her (with a smile), “All right, take your eyes off his ass.” She looked at me like I had two heads and told me she had no interest*. Well, I’m not gay, but if that ass belonged to a woman, I would have been eyeballing it every time she walked by.

            * I’ve always known my wife was weird. The guys she thinks are attractive are normally strange looking. Every time she looks at a guy and says, “Ooh, I could go for him,” I look and go, “Oh, hell, I’m ugly.”

            1. I’ll just add whatever the color of the ass is is of no consequence either. Been accused of being a racist for not liking the guy who took my walkman radio and smashed it in a vice.

        1. I’m glad someone responded to that comment so that it reminded me to reread it. I read “hubby” as “hobby”, and my head was in danger of tilting completely over.

              1. For a moment I thought this referred to me, since my pre-citizenship name was… takes deep breath “Alice Maria da Silva Marques de Almeida.” Only it’s pronounced Uh-lease. Part of the reason for the change.

                1. And see how bad my memory is? So far, even though I’ve read it a half dozen times here, I have only remembered the “Marques de Almeida”. And that’s probably partly because one of the guys at work has the last name “Marques”, which he pronounces “Mar-kez”, and I remember you explaining that yours was pronounced, “Marksh” (I think),

                  1. Yes. Though to be fair, I think it’s the same name across Europe and probably related to — argh — marx.
                    Marques — Grandma’s maiden name and de Almeida are still part of my name. I cordially hated Maria, so I ditched it. I also hated Alice and there was the issue of pronouncing it. And Silva is so common in Portugal it can just be ASSUMED to be there. (It’s sort of like Smith.)
                    Weirdly, in this town there are more Almeidas than Hoyts. that I know no relation, since they are mostly from Cape Verde.

                    1. Yes, of course. I just know the name is all over Europe — something I didn’t know until I found it was in France too — like Martin and thus likely a really OLD cognate.
                      Or it could be parallel evolution, of course!

                2. *snortgiggle* One of the reasons why I go by my rather unisex nickname is because it’s easier for Aussies to pronounce and hear. Well, more often. Use my birth name and I get ‘Laura/Lorea/Lora/Alora/Cora/’ and then I spell it out and they go “oooh, ooh-Ro-rah?” Me: “…Rory will be fine.” “Laurie?”


                  1. I couldn’t get it through their head that Alice is pronounced differently, so I got all variations of “Her real name is Alice, but she wants to be called Uh-lease” and people addressing stuff to Elise Hoyt.
                    So I changed it to my real name. I mean, the name I knew was mine.

                    1. One of my co-workers is from the Netherlands. His name us Yon. Spelled Jan. This is a problem for me.

                    2. There’s a large portion of the Navy named “Win.”


                      And I thought Skrzypchak (script chack) and Blicharski (Bull harss kay) were bad.

                    1. So, sounds more like “keen”? I know that’s not exact, but I can imagine people hearing it as “joking”.

                      I was the only person who could correctly pronounce the Indian guy’s name in the one shop I worked in. I didn’t understand the problem. It was pronounced, “Ma-noosh”, but everyone kept calling him, “Me-noesh”

                  2. Since I don’t know your birth name, it sounds like you are trying to describe ‘Aurora’.

                    1. Yep, Aurora. (I have five other birth names too, which forces me to clarify every single time, “as it’s written on my birth certificate?”)

                      Car dealer we went to lately pegged me as Filipino on sight. First time it’s ever happened. Turns out he regularly goes to the Philippines for the poker tournaments. “A nice, very Filipino name,” he said.

                      He’s been the ONLY fella ’round here who pronounced it right too!

  3. like Insty said when linking to a study stating the obvious about most Men liking women in their twenties most all their life and most women liking them close to their own age:

    1. As long as the old pervs chasing the hot young things understand the reason they keep getting shot down is evolution and stop whining, I’m cool with it 😉

      1. This old perv married her (almost 19-year gap, I was approaching 40 and she just turned 21 when we first met). I’m just approaching 50 now, and she’s just turned 31. We’ve mostly been very happy with one another. 🙂

        1. I’ll pass on that it can, indeed work– a friend is playing Father Confessor to a guildmate who was asked on a date by a 19 year old…the day before he turned 38.

            1. … younger partner has a more mature mindset than most their peers…

              Generally it’s older men marrying younger women.

              It’s not necessarily the YOUNGER person who’s mindset is out of whack with their chronological age. In fact I would go so far as to say it’s my body that’s out of phase with my mental age…

  4. To be fair to the girl, it is generally theorized that Emma Watson has a brain and can use it–she did manage to get into Brown.
    Based on the contents of her speech, however, she bought hook, line, and sinker into the local ideology.
    (Also, odd side note, Ringo’s latest zombie book has a secondary character that’s a pretty obvious expy. Thinking about her probable reaction to this after being told about Paladin of Shadows makes me smile.)

    1. Waitasecond, I read that book and I missed the Watson expy. Which one was it?

      I did catch the Harrison Ford expy, but that’s about the only actor whose personal life I know anything about. (And even there, I don’t know that much about him).

      1. I’m pretty sure there was a Jeremy Clarkson expy. There was also one I thought might be Paris Hilton.

        1. There was also one I thought might be Paris Hilton.

          You mean Athena Perez, “the heir to the Vinyards Inn fortune”? I managed to catch that one.

      2. “Anna Holmes”

        Sort of like how Colonel Cutprice from the Posleen novels was an expy of David Hackworth.

      3. Anna Holmes–the one who took on the job of infected-dispatcher for the female reality show stars. I wouldn’t have caught it myself, if I hadn’t noticed that she’s mentioned as starring in something called “Wizard Wars.”

        1. … Ugh. Now I’m kicking myself. If John Ringo should ever read this thread, he’ll probably go, “Oh, come on, I named her Holmes and everything! You see, but you do not observe!”

          1. Took me a second to catch the reference. Hopefully, however, Ringo is not reading this blog, but is instead writing. Hopefully the next book in the Legacy of the Aldenata, which he left on a cliffhanger four years ago.

            1. If enjoyment of a book is dependent upon spotting expys the book is probably not worth your time. Happily, this is not typically the case in Ringo’s books.

          2. It’s more the other way around–I didn’t read the HP stuff, and only saw one of the movies.

            And given that she’s a famous movie star I wouldn’t assume that getting in to Brown means she’s smart. After all Obama.

            1. I think they’ve been working on her hard. If you read or watch her interviews before she reached adulthood, she was definitely bright and driven, and was tending towards a highly independent mindset. Reading about this speech tells me that a bunch of people must have been working on convincing her that she was headed in the wrong direction, and from what other people have said about watching the video (I didn’t watch it), they haven’t succeeded completely yet.

          1. NO NO NO NO NO! Not another series!!! 🙂 (That’s a common refrain in Ringo’s Tavern at Baen’s Bar).

    2. I was amused at the vast extent of approving clucking over Ms Watson’s speech, especially as the little I caught of it expressed very jejune thought (of course, I have the same problem with Barack Obama’s platitudinous blather.) Given that we can be reasonably confident she did not (fully) compose the speech herself, the performance represents a minor technical challenge well within her professional capacities rendering the whole artifice uninteresting. The most interesting response I have seen was found at TheFederalist:

      While Watson, to her credit, did give a few shout-outs to actual oppression around the globe—child brides and uneducated girls in Africa, specifically, along with an admission that “not all women have received the same rights I have”—her speech was an unfortunate reflection of the “we’re all victims,” zero-sense-of-proportion mishmash that makes up modern Western feminism.

      If you don’t believe me, here is what Emma Watson, Hollywood actress, actually complained about before a body of 192 member states, some which have more terrifying dictatorships than others: 1. She was called “bossy” as a child; 2. She was sexualized by the media as a young movie star; 3. Many of her girlfriends quit their sports teams because they didn’t want to grow muscles; 4. Many of her teenage male friends, being teenage males, were unable to express their feelings.


      But here’s the thing: You can object to modern, pre-packaged “feminism” and not be crazy. You can support women while taking left-wing talking points with a grain of salt. You can understand that free markets have lifted more women out of poverty across the world than any government program. You can believe in justice, freedom, and empowerment and not obsess about sex and gender. Feminists, of course, never like to do this last one. It would put them—or at least their current modus operandi—right out of business.
      Emma Watson And The Chamber Of Feminist Conundrums

      Of greater interest was the idea that this was a matter of significance to which we ought all PAY ATTENTION.

      Experience has taught me that when All The Right People are telling me to Pay Attention it is a good idea to glance around for a man behind a curtain to whom they insist no attention be paid.

    3. It’s fairly obvious that ex-child actors who were first chosen because they could play a particular role, and not purely for looks, have on average Mensa level IQs; actresses who got into it when they got too old to be models tend to be darned smart (with beautiful women flooding Hollywood constantly the ones who win have to have something besides looks); actors who became actors at the age most people start to get into their lifelong professions, and who succeeded because they have a talent at mimicry, tend to have average maybe 110 IQs even with outliers like James Woods and Geena Davis. Truman Capote got into a lot of trouble pointing this out. But of course, there’s the black comedy of someone obviously very intelligent, like Jodie Foster, succumbing to social pressure and spouting the same BS as everyone else… I think that’s what we see with Ms. Watson, the few times I’ve seen her speaking the usual lines, there seems to be a look of doubt and thought on her face.

      1. And in almost every candid photo of Emma Watson that show up on IMDB, she has this odd scruntched-up expression on her face that seems to say, “what the hell am I doing here, I could have been a physicist or a surgeon!”

      1. Heh, I had the same question so I did a search on the term… “exported character”, a character brought in from another source (a different series or, in these examples, real people).

      2. A thinly veiled copy. For instance, in L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Rachel Griffin books, there’s a character named Vladimir von Dread. He’s an expy of one Victor von Doom. Still in school and not a bad guy, but you can still see the source.

  5. I have been telling my kids about exactly this since they were old enough to notice men and women acted differently. Also, that as parents we will not support them in college to major in gender/women’s/ethnic studies or similar BS academic endeavors.

  6. There was a marriage seminar some time ago my wife and I took in called Love & Respect by Emerson Eggeridge. He stated numerous times, “Not wrong, just different!”
    It was the only seminar of its type where I didn’t leave feeling like a subhuman monster. And it went a long way to teaching us how to deal with each others intrinsic differences. I heartily recommend it.

    1. It was the only seminar of its type where I didn’t leave feeling like a subhuman monster.

      This. This reaction says a lot. If more marriage-seminar organizers actually asked for, and listened to honest, anonymous feedback from both men and women, there might not be such a problem with this, and men might actually want to attend such seminars.

      Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, most marriage advice is given from a perspective of “the way women’s minds work is correct, and men are simply defective women”. Which is a sad state of affairs, and may go a long way towards explaining why divorce rates are so high, with women initiating about 70% of divorces: they’re being taught that their husbands are defective and that they can do better, instead of being taught that men and women are truly different in their thinking. Thinking that your spouse is defective will lead to dissatisfaction; thinking that they’re different will lead to “How can I better understand him/her?” which in turn will lead to making a real effort to accommodate the other’s differences, and a much better marriage all around.

      It’s truly sad that the “men and women are different” idea has become politically incorrect, because the damage that has resulted from the PC “the only difference is the plumbing” idea is truly horrendous.

      1. Wrote in haste. The way I meant to characterize the perspective of most advice is “the way women’s minds work is correct for all human beings, and (therefore) men are simply defective women”.

      2. Those types of seminars do not help. It’s always they guy that needs to change?
        Just read a postcard from another site. Gal saying she never realized that getting married would lead to a lifetime of sexual harassment. I remember another gal telling me that marriage had nothing to do with sex.
        It leaves you with the feeling that guys should be nothing more than a romantic paycheck.

          1. Please insert eye shields before continuing; we want no eyeballs rolling off.

            SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 4:05 PM
            ‘Withholding Sex’ Now Considered ‘Sexual Violence’ at U of M
            Also “discounting the partner’s feelings regarding sex.”
            By Katherine Timpf
            The University of Michigan has released a list of relationship behaviors that it considers violent and abusive — including “withholding sex.”

            “Discounting the partner’s feelings regarding sex,” “criticizing the partner sexually,” and “having sex with other people” are also examples of “sexual violence,” according to the list.

            The school also offers definitions of domestic abuse. Under the section for “verbal or psychological abuse,” it states that not only is “insulting the partner” considered “abuse,” so is “ignoring the partner’s feelings.”

            Janet Bloomfield, social media director for A Voice for Men, explained the dangers of such broad definitions of “violence” in an e-mail to the College Fix.

            “When things like ‘withholding sex’ and ‘ignoring a partner’s feelings’ are framed as a pattern of behavior that is abusive, they are not only pathologizing normal relationship behaviors, but they are opening the door for vindictive or spurned partners to make allegations that can have profound effects for the accused,” she said.

            — Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

            1. Let’s see if I got this straight,
              Looking at her = rape
              Having sex = rape
              Not having sex = abuse
              Blindfold myself and get a cane and dog = fraud

              How can a normal hetero male stay out of jail?

                1. Guys, you are missing the crux:
                  … behaviors that it considers violent and abusive — including “withholding sex,” “discounting the partner’s feelings regarding sex,” and “criticizing the partner sexually” are also examples of “sexual violence.

                  Read that closely. If she says she has a headache, you’ve been sexually abused. If she says she doesn’t care how much your [figs] hurt, that is sexual violence.

                  And if she says you aren’t stroking her properly, cuddling sufficiently, lasting long enough, then she is criticizing you sexually and you can file a complaint against her. This would possibly even include complaining about you rolling over and falling asleep, although that is technically after sex and may thus be open to criticism.

                  Complaining to her friends about your [lack of] sexual technique is also an act of sexual violence.

                  Whoever convinced them to craft these rules is an awesome dude.

                  1. You know these sexual rules can only be applied against men and never ever in their favor. Just as disarmament laws can only be applied against the commons and never the elite.

                    1. Of course not, but the attempt would be useful nonetheless, especially if the male invoking those rules recorded the interaction with the university admin and used that recording in his subsequent Title IX complaint. Enough of that, and the blatant double standards would become too expensive for universities to maintain. That appears to be FIRE’s current strategy.

                    2. It would be incredibly entertaining to see. /agree with Robin Munn about it

                      Refusing sex now is abuse… and isn’t the with-holding of sex the usual weapon of women in a relationship? I mean, typically? (I’ve read a couple of romance novels though where the opposite is the case, and the woman herself gets VERY UPSET about it.)

                      @jselvy – that would be a very long flight, and I’m not sure where you could drop in for pit stops on food. O_O

                    3. Furthermore, haven’t Feminists more than once proposed a movement to stop having sex if their partners refuse to vote Democrat? (Typically on the basis of some event that happened in Roman times, iirc.)

              1. One way: Accuse her (officially & in writing) of withholding sex and ignoring your feelilngs, FIRST. It becomes another cynical competition – and another nail in the casket of chivalry.

                  1. Its always his fault. This was my point from the beginning. The whole situation is an effective argument in favor of legalized prostitution.

    2. The only marriage thingy I ever went to was the Catholic “Pre-Cana” classes.

      It was actually really, really useful. Even more so for folks who didn’t do a lot of thinking before they got engaged (in one case a young couple had wildly different ideas about the number of children the union should produce. Like a difference of 5 or 6. I think the male of the bunch wasn’t real clear on anatomy).

  7. I swear, Sarah Hoyt, you are my sister from another mister. I talk to my husband about this topic on a regular basis. You are SO dead on right.

  8. So, tweaked slightly, women look for “good daddy,” men look for “good mommy.”

    Which is why folks get so upset about a lack of role models when not just you, but most of the kids you hang out with, do not have a good mommy or daddy model. Those kids then have to go out to try to make a good family with a really bad map of the route, which may or may not say “safe path” right over several cliffs.

    1. Not just in their lives, but also in their media, too. When the protagonist – i.e. – the one who is most proactive and drives the film – is the Joker, or Walter White, or just about any role played by Leonardo DiCaprio, it seriously screws the instincts on “what is desireable.”

      1. *nod*
        And part of why the Joker is more attractive is because a “good guy” by the philosophy is supposed to be…well, a bit of a dishrag.

        And women aren’t “supposed’ to want confidence, action, etc.

        (Part of what annoys me with the “alpha” and “beta” talk is that it swallows this notion whole– there’s only asses and wimps in their philosophy, which puts me in mind of the “guys who push little old ladies” story. The philosophy is poison, you don’t fix it by swallowing it whole and trying to reverse it.)

        1. In other words, the villain gets the Lively Virtue of Zeal, and the hero gets the Deadly Sin of Sloth. That’s not how it’s supposed to go.

      2. When you look at what passes for morals amongst Hollywood movers & shakers, is it any wonder?

        What is the difference between the (Heath Ledger) Joker and a Hollywood producer?

      3. the one who is most proactive and drives the film – is the Joker, or Walter White

        You can have works of art in which a noble hero drives things (Harry Potter, LTOR), but just because the one with undesirable characteristics drives the story doesn’t mean it should be rejected.

        You’d be rejecting most of Shakespeare, if you think about it.

    2. Role models can be important. I’ve been married 36 years now by comparing my actions with my father. Whenever I wasn’t sure about what to do, I’d think about how he did it, then do something else. He went through 3 wives. Works that way with raising my kids also. My kids at all ages did better then I did at those ages, and continue to do so.

  9. Let’s see if I got this right – “the women of course started discussing the dress”; then they started chiding the men for commenting on how she looks?
    OK – clothes have nothing to do with how you look.
    Got it.

      1. I was poking fun at the chiding ladies as well. One finger pointing at the guys, and three fingers pointing back at them.
        And they were oblivious to it.

    1. Reinterpreted:
      The women analysed how well she presented what she had to work with, then they put the menfolk on the defensive for being men.

  10. Does it not seem curious that the “side” which denounces their political opponents as denying evolution (as if belief in evolution would have helped George W. Bush sort out the conflicts in the Middle East or resolve multiple economic challenges on the home front) is so committed in their policies to denial of the effects of evolution? (Never mind that their understanding of what evolution actually is and has done is almost completely backasswards.)

    Acceptance of evolution is, in most aspects of modern life, utterly irrelevant. Do you care if your accountant, your lawyer, your doctor understands the principles of evolution or are you more concerned with their abilities to (respectively) navigate the tax code, protect your rights in contracting, accurately diagnose and prescribe therapies for illnesses/injuries?

    Strictly speaking, from a purely rational evolutionary standpoint, brains in a fertile female are only slightly more useful than nipples on a man. In order to fulfill her primary evolutionary function a young adult female only needs sufficient brain to instruct children in basic functions of the tribe and to get along with the other local females of comparable age and status. Beyond that we’re talking cars able to go 150 mph in an area where the speed limit is 35.

    Now, lest I get denounced for wrong reasons (there are plenty of good ones), let me hasten to add that I, personally, like and appreciate brains in females. They are an enjoyable bonus which adds spice and savor to what would be otherwise bland interactions. But I do not fool myself into thinking that they are important (indeed, might well be detrimental) to the primary evolutionary function.

    1. “Strictly speaking, from a purely rational evolutionary standpoint, brains in a fertile female are only slightly more useful than nipples on a man. In order to fulfill her primary evolutionary function a young adult female only needs sufficient brain to instruct children in basic functions of the tribe and to get along with the other local females of comparable age and status. Beyond that we’re talking cars able to go 150 mph in an area where the speed limit is 35.”

      Which is how you get “stupid” as a inbred trait: You can’t breed from dumb, and expect the kids to be more intelligent than the mothers. You want smart sons, you’d better be marrying up in terms of intelligence, brother. If, on the other hand, you want complete morans, go for the big tits and stupid expressions.

      It’s a feature of human genetics that the traits that make for smart people aren’t sexually differentiated. Dumb, good-looking mothers make dumb, good-looking kids. Smart mothers=smart kids. Which do you want?

      And, again–Most of child-rearing and early education even in a fairly primitive society comes from the mother, who’d better be smart enough not to let the kids out to play in the berry patch while the bears are feeding.

      I don’t think you’ve got the whole picture, here. And, I’m not even bringing up the additional evolutionary advantages accrued by having smart grandmothers around the tribe, in order to preserve and pass on hard-learned lessons to the younger members. Stupid women make for stupid tribal groupings, a fact that ought to visible to you in a lot of modern settings…

      1. There was a story about this beautiful woman (assumed lacking brains) talking to one very intelligent man. She said “we must have children together. With my looks and your brains, they’ll rule the world”. His response was “I’d feel sorry for our children if they have my looks and your brains.”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

        1. This is why I have faith that the world will turn out okay: the Corriea-kin. And the Williamson-spawn, and the Hoyt-monsters, and… This is our next generation.

        2. Eh, how brilliant can she be, having hitched her wagon to a horse’s ass* like me?

          For gawd’s sake, the woman laughs at my jokes! (Having met her father’s puns, I entertain the possibility her sense of humour was damned damaged at an early age.)

          *This is an example of self-deprecating humour and is not intended as invitation for either argument nor agreement.

          1. ” *This is an example of self-deprecating humour and is not intended as invitation for either argument nor agreement.”

            And yet … I found it very wise.

          2. Oddly enough I feel exactly the same way about the beautiful, intelligent, creative woman who has chosen to share her life with me. I figure she must be mentally ill but, I’m not complaining

      2. The genetics of the matter are unfortunately not that simple. Smart mothers do not guarantee smart kids, nor do good looking mothers guarantee good looking children. Anyone who grew up as an outsider on a border between Irish Catholic and Italian Catholic neighborhoods in suburban Philadelphia in the late 1950s, where families of four were considered very small, will tell you that siblings differ. (I knew a set of twins who were as different as night and day.)

        Not being brilliant is not the same as being stupid. If a women has survived long to reproduce she probably knows better than to hunt in the berry patch when the bears are out. Anyway, I would argue that more than looks or brains what the mother of small children need is a patient and excepting character. And, The Daughter would add, the ability to restrain murderous impulses.

      3. “Strictly speaking, from a purely rational evolutionary standpoint, brains in a fertile female …..”

        Sci-fi explores all options. Kzin’s followed that philosphy.

        1. Well, there’s evolutionary optimization in the mother having enough smarts to nurture the kids until they leave the nest to start their own families. Depending on the challenges, that may take a very significant amount of brains.

      4. You’re right on the reasoning– which is why strictly evolutionary thinking doesn’t work on people.

        With people, you’ll get a much higher than otherwise expected rate of complementary couples, rather than matching ones– the dumb but strong and decent guy with the smart and decent but not much for looks wife, and if you do end up with a beautiful but dumb couple their families will pick up the slack– including making sure that any kids who do end up with more than their folks’ sense are taught how to use it.

        1. No, he isn’t right on the reasoning.

          If anything I can present it backwards: That brains in men should not have happened. After all, only a single male or two is required to reproduce the next generation for a tribe, and that all a male is really good for is hunting and killing–which is very dangerous and of high energy expenditure. If you reduce the brains to being just smart enough to use simple hunting and dressing tools, then he is much more willing to do dangerous and unpleasant tasks.

          Genetics/evolution isn’t planned, it just happens.

          Not everything is an evolved trait, some things are side effects, are along for the ride with another mutation, or have neither a benefit, nor a drawback. See “Blue eyes”, which either have the benefit of being sexually more attractive, or are “along for the ride” with some other gene sequence.

          One (well, another) problem with RES’ theory is that that humans did not evolve from nothing, we share a common ancestor with other primates. Primates who developed in a dangerous, aggressive place (aka “reality”), where their brains was one of the advantages they had over other animals. In this milieu–especially before coming down out of the trees–both mother and father needed brains to survive. This trait would have had to have been actively selected *against* to disappear.

          1. Your assumptions of what is best for the species are not shared, so any conclusions we’d make are of course going to be different. *shrug*

            1. Reading comprehension much?

              I make no assumptions *at all* in the piece above. I’m simply arguing an alternative to point RES makes, and pointing out why it doesn’t fit the facts on the ground.

              *MY* assumptions, which are more like an educated and paranoid guess, about what are best for the species at a genetic level is massive physical diversity because the universe is run by Murphy and *genetically* we’re best off if we have a wide base to adapt from. Yes, in any one given scenario we lose a significant portion, but we also *carry on*.

              It’s also why I advocate “rugged individualism” rather than the mono-culture of the hive mind. More diversity, more adaptability.

              If you’ve got a problem with *that*, fine, part of the diversity. You’ll either be part of the solution or part of the precipitate, but if you’re going to criticize me for my position at least know it.

              1. Reading comprehension much?

                More than you, it seems.

                Thanks for an additional reason not to bother discussing it with you, but it really wasn’t needed.

      5. In order to fulfill her primary evolutionary function a young adult female only needs sufficient brain to instruct children in basic functions of the tribe and to get along with the other local females of comparable age and status. Beyond that we’re talking cars able to go 150 mph in an area where the speed limit is 35.

        Maybe I am brainless, but where does this say that women should be stupid?

        It can take a lot of a particular kind of intellegence to instruct children in basic functions and get along with the local females. (Female pecking orders are renowned to be notoriously difficult.)

    2. Leftists claim to believe in evolution but ignore most of its obvious lessons. Rightists claim to deny it but firmly grasp most of those lessons. I’ve never really comprehended why.

      Strictly speaking, from a purely rational evolutionary standpoint, brains in a fertile female are only slightly more useful than nipples on a man. In order to fulfill her primary evolutionary function a young adult female only needs sufficient brain to instruct children in basic functions of the tribe and to get along with the other local females of comparable age and status.

      The flaw in your hypothesis is this:

      Humans are not that sexually dimorphic, with the result that if braininess isn’t being expressed in the phenotype, this makes it probable that it’s absent from the genotype. In other words, if you marry a stupid woman, you are asking for stupid children.

      This is why the “dumb bimbo” is generally seen by men as someone to have sex with but not marry. If she bears you children, you abandon them and ding up a victory point for reproduction. You take care of your children by the smart woman.

      Keep in mind — “smart” and “intellectual” do not always correlate. The “nice girl” is usually smarter, because she’s the one capable of good impulse control, whether or not she has a college degree or can regurgitate the Official Truth on command.

      1. Perhaps it would have been clearer had I said “brains above a certain base level” are only slightly more useful.

        We need not argue what that level might be, and modern life with its negotiation of countless social pitfalls undoubtedly alters the equation (for one thing, it is necessary for mothers of “odd” children to be able to effectively interact with school systems, a task which s becoming ever more challenging*.)

        Highly intelligent women are very likely to find themselves highly frustrated in most aspects of their lives. Desire for a more intelligent mate than herself will leave her drawing from a smaller pool, for example, and interactions with toddler children and their mothers is likely not to be fulfilling.

        *Note, there are many ways to achieve this, one of which is being so sweet, charming and just gosh darn likable that the system’s managers bend over backwards to earn your smiles. Others find it more satisfying to go momma grizzly.

        1. “Highly intelligent women are very likely to find themselves highly frustrated in most aspects of their lives. Desire for a more intelligent mate than herself will leave her drawing from a smaller pool, for example, and interactions with toddler children and their mothers is likely not to be fulfilling.”

          I’ve have to disagree with this point of yours, as well: The capacity for that queer ability to find dissatisfaction with everything in one’s life is most emphatically not related to intelligence or the lack thereof. It’s an entirely separate issue, and not at all related to intellectual capacity or what we could term educability.

          I will agree that both high intelligence and what we could term an inability to achieve satisfaction can occur together; what I believe you have missed is that generalized dissatisfaction with one’s lot in life, and low intelligence can also be observed.

          The reason you think you’ve heard of more cases of it with regards to high intelligence has more to do with the fact that the intelligent are better able to articulate and communicate their dissatisfaction with life than the comparative muteness of their less intelligent fellows who don’t wind up writing massive tomes about how unfair life is. The stupid and unhappy person goes down to the bar and drinks; the intelligent and unhappy person writes voluminous works of poetry and prose, detailing their misery and the horrors of the world they are forced to live in. Guess who we think of more?

          I’ve known highly intelligent people who achieved an effortless satori with their circumstances, no matter how mundane and unsuited for those conditions they were. And, other, highly intelligent people who were in what they said were ideal circumstances in life, and yet who never evinced the slightest happiness or satisfaction with things–They were always looking for greener pastures, newer things, better conditions or more congenial people. The same things are observable in some really unintelligent people I’ve been around, and I thus am forced to conclude that we’re talking about a totally unrelated human trait, one that isn’t well defined in the language or culture.

          Being intelligent does not necessarily imply that you’re wasting your life in a role such as housewife/mother to children–One of the smartest women I ever met, who had more mental horsepower going than just about anyone I have encountered, was horribly unhappy doing the things that everyone was telling her she should do, like have a high-powered career and a high-income big-city lifestyle. She did that until her early thirties, always feeling like she was just going through the motions. Then, she hired a plumber to fix the house she was renovating out in the sticks, things clicked, and she wound up abandoning her entire former life to go be a housewife out in the hills of Eastern Washington, raising his kids and having some of their own. When I met her, she’d been doing that for five years or so, and was deliriously happy doing it, as in “What the hell is she on, and where do I get some…?” happy. I met her through one of the few people she kept in touch from her former life as a big-city executive, and that friend was constantly muttering to herself “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with Jane… She could be running Costco…”. Jane, on the other hand, was fully in her element being a mom and wife.

          The ability to achieve satisfaction and happiness is entirely distinct from what most of us are talking about when they discuss the quality we generally term “intelligence”. I’ve known some really miserable human beings who were very intelligent, and I’ve known some really stupid human beings who were also dissatisfied and miserable. Their lots in life were mostly self-influenced, and had a great deal to do with things other than intelligence or problem-solving skills.

          1. I’ve have to disagree with this point of yours, as well: The capacity for that queer ability to find dissatisfaction with everything in one’s life is most emphatically not related to intelligence or the lack thereof.

            I do not believe that the commenter was talking about someone looking for ways to be dissatisfied. Child rearing, while it may be very rewarding in the long run, is not always bed of roses.

            Have you ever foregone washing one’s face, brushing one’s hair, bathing or sleeping to take care of a small very dependent person non-stop?

            Have you ever spent a week where the most scintillating conversation you have had consisted of a small person loudly pronouncing their favorite noise from the most sophisticated book you have read in months: Moo, Baa, La, La, La? (again … again…again … again…again…again … again …)

            Can you calmly say to a bundle of wiggles, ‘Please stay still so I can get your nappy on before you take off this time’?

            It is my opinion that satisfaction with the job of child care provider while in progress is a question of having a proper temperament, and not giving a fig if your brain seems to be turning to raspberry jam — like the stuff of the little hand those prints on the wall.

            1. I meant: like the stuff of the little hand prints on the wall…

              And then there is standing in the middle of the market high on sleep deprevation toxins trying to remember what it was that was needed so badly one went out on a special run in the middle of the night: Bread? Milk? Cleaning products? Something else altogether?

            2. You seem like someone who didn’t enjoy the process… 🙂

              Seriously, though: If you’re going to be miserable, you’re going to be miserable whether you’ve got an IQ of 140, or one of 94. The smarter person may actually come through it without committing infanticide, because they’ve got the mental resources to be able to keep themselves relatively sane, while the lower IQ person is unable to overcome the monotony of it all. It’s mental attitude and how you frame it.

              One thing I noticed with regards to working with people who were given super-monotonous tasks while I was in the Army–Their relative intelligence was no predictor of how well they’d handle doing them. The stupid got bored just as easily as the super-intelligent, and you found that the ones who did the job best all shared a common trait of deliberately not losing themselves in the misery. You’d ask the “stupid” guy “Hey, how’d you keep from going nuts with all that buffing to do…?”, and he’d tell you he spent the time just getting into the physicality of it all, and didn’t even think about it. Then, you’d ask another guy, the so-called “smart” one, how he’d coped, and you’d get some baffling explanation for how he’d worked through the log tables as he worked. The ones who didn’t do well? Universally, it was always “This is boring…” “This sucks…” “I’m better than this…”. Didn’t matter where they fell on the IQ chart, either–I had to deal with the geniuses who felt they were “better than that”, right along with the clinically stupid who just didn’t like to exert themselves.

              You want to be miserable? You will be. Want to be happy and feel fulfilled? You will be, and which choice you make isn’t going to have a damn thing to do with your IQ. That’s a false correspondence, in my opinion. Smart people are just as capable of doing monotonous, repetitive drudgery as anyone else–It’s just that their coping techniques are different.

              The real reason smart people have a reputation for not coping with this stuff? The ones who can’t are ever so much more articulate and far more vocal about expressing their angst over the issue. It’s the attitude, in short. You never hear from the lower rungs on the IQ ladder who have issues, and it’s mostly because they can’t express themselves on the matter, and that they aren’t able to parlay their misery into best-selling novels and scrips for movies.

              Friend of mine once pointed out to me, speaking as one of the congenitally happy to one of nature’s cynics, that it’s a choice you make: Either you’re happy where you are, or you aren’t. If you decide to be happy, time in a gulag can be quite tolerable. Decide to be miserable, and living your dream turns into hell on earth.

              Now, Dave was a morning person, and I’m actually quite astonished that I never choked him to death whilst he was singing one of his happy little morning songs, but I’ve come to believe more and more in what he said the longer I live.

              1. Friend of mine once pointed out to me, speaking as one of the congenitally happy to one of nature’s cynics, that it’s a choice you make: Either you’re happy where you are, or you aren’t. If you decide to be happy, time in a gulag can be quite tolerable. Decide to be miserable, and living your dream turns into hell on earth.

                Now, Dave was a morning person, and I’m actually quite astonished that I never choked him to death whilst he was singing one of his happy little morning songs, but I’ve come to believe more and more in what he said the longer I live.

                I wish I could believe that, but I’ve never been able to control my mental state like that. “Deciding” to be happy doesn’t make me happy, and I never “decided” to be miserable. The best I can do is try to cope with the emotions that my circumstances elicit.

                I’ll be the first to admit that my general dissatisfaction with my life stems from the decisions I’ve made in response to my emotional state at various times (fear of rejection, pathological shyness, very strong aversion to crowds and noise, etc), but to say that I’ve chosen loneliness and unhappiness because I chose not to humiliate myself or try to drive myself into a panic by pretending to like the whole “socializing” thing is, IMO, to overstate the case. The current unhappiness is a consequence of other choices I’ve made, but was never, itself, the option I chose.

              2. I don’t know. Strictly anecdotal but, I have observed that the higher IQ the lower the happiness at any task. The people that I have worked with that were downs syndrome for example were qutie happy doing simple tasks that challenged them. Those of any IQ who continually wound up doing tasks much mentally simpler than they were capable of tended towards unhappy. Geniuses tended top be unhappy with everything. Something about dissonance between what they thought was right and what they experienced.

                1. Yes. This has been my experience too. Not personal. Other than the depressive episodes, I tend to be pretty happy which is what allows me to overcome the episodes with “this is not real.”

              3. I had to think long and hard how to reply to you so as not to be misunderstood. I did not say that I did not enjoy the process. I tried to explain, through experiences, not all of them personal to our household, why a person who thrives on intellectual challenge might not excel at the task of caring for small children.

                The Daughter did not print the walls with raspberry jam, but she could, and did, spray orange squash over amazing distances when she had a mind to. I believe that it was Raspberry syrup that was at the heart of the experience of someone I am proud to call a friend. That brought to mind the lyric of Never Say No, a song from the show The Fantasticks:

                Why did the kids pour jam on the cat?
                Raspberry jam all over the cat?
                Why should the kids do something like that,
                When all that we said was no?

                At any rate, we are not going to agree. The people I have know who were primary child care providers have represented a wide range of intellects and educations. The ones who did best and enjoyed it most had something about the makeup of their temperament that allowed them to love each child even when that child was the source of mind-boggling frustration.

            3. Having the option of doing things in addition is important– a major issue with how far apart a lot of kids are these days is that a small child does a horrible job of entertaining himself, and really needs at least two or three others to get the best result. The lack of things for kids to do that are constructive (and legal) is another issue.

              In a family type group, not an issue– you’ve got Mog, Ogg and Zogg, their mom and dad, and their wives; maybe across the way you’ve got the groups that their sisters married into. In the summer, the kids all do things together– even if it’s “scare birds away from this field” and “pick berries with grandma and the tiny baby mothers,” with the older ones helping their moms at other tasks. (Baskets, shelters, dryers and fish-traps all take intelligence to fix, and training to make, although the skills may not translate straight across.)

              I assure you, there’s a big difference between one toddler, one toddler with a preschooler, and two preschoolers with a toddler– and four preschoolers, two toddlers and a baby, with two mothers doing other stuff in totally different houses, was the easiest summer of my motherly life thus far!

              1. The ability to have other adults who are doing the same thing you are is something that one should not take for granted. The isolation that young mothers and new moms have now is not natural, and the fact that back in the days where several generations of families lived close together was extremely helpful to the new mom, because the new parents alone were not the only source of positive reinforcement for the children, or examples, of how to behave.

                That’s one of the (very few) regrets I have in living so far away from y’all. I keep thinking it’d be fun to raise the kiddlywinks all together, or at least in close enough proximity to be considered ‘our’ village.

                1. I find the thought of a hun village to be terrifyingly, yet strangely attractive. Kinda like a good venison summer sausage.

                    1. Probably a good thing we’re scattered. I think a large permanent gathering of us could be best described as “Critical Mass”

                    2. …Nah. Butcher and Correia were in the same place and the world didn’t explode from the sheer amount of awesome. I think it’ll survive us. *grin*

                      Sorry for the delayed replies. Busy working on a book that is 75% done. (Reformatting then will finish the rest of the book in writing.)

                    3. Don’t let me bother you. I’m just an insomniav .
                      BTW I have started your book. So far I have an instinctive dislike for your would. It is also strongly reminiscent of Blade Runner. But I’m not in too deep yet

                    4. Yeah… out of the books so far I think The Right Place was the most rushed of them all. It’s also the first book that David had me work with him on and we hadn’t quite learned to work with each other that well yet. I’m hoping that Blessed Hope will be much better.

                    5. At six The Daughter and I were going to Charlotte to visit Discovery Place, a drive that took a little short of two hours. She began to explain, probably influenced by C. S. Lewis (she had yet to discover Diana Wynne Jones), that there is a system of interconnected universes. I gathered that if you negotiated the portals properly you could easily use them to come back to different places on earth. It was not as easy, but you could, if very careful, arrive at different times as well. She had worked it out in great detail, such that she had not finished when we arrived in Charlotte.

                2. Even without knowing other new mothers — Europe is shrinking population wise — as often as I went to Portugal I was reminded no one in my family had to do motherhood like I did it, till I went to bed with a list of to-dos undone and dropping with tiredness. I joke my brother and SIL “don’t know what it’s like to be parents” but of course, they’re more traditional than I am. Tired? Take the tot to grandma. Wanna go to a concert? Take tot to other grandma. Don’t feel like cooking? “We’re coming over for dinner.”
                  The envy I felt can’t be described.

                  1. Oh I definitely understand the envy – as well as knowing the sense of security that’s felt knowing your kids are safe with the people who raised you. Daughter takes care of things like laundry, cleaning countertops and tables, washing pots – she’s 15 and old enough to handle those chores, and was the same age when I took over those chores from my mom – which is helpful considering that over the years I’ve developed skin contact allergies to some cleaning agents and dust (the result of which is my skin peels off, itching, till they’re raw, then is very vulnerable till the skin grows back in – a process that takes weeks.)

                    The way that the communities have also changed make it very difficult to form the neighborly friendships that used to exist for our families. Families are more transient (especially in the military communities) so military kids tend to be somewhat more isolated socially – in the sense that they don’t develop lasting friendships with neighbourhood children – IF there are any! – and the friends at school are temporary because that one might move away halfway through the year, or this one is made just last week and now they have to move away to mom or dad’s new posting.

                    The local defence community organization tries to be very helpful in things like finding the wives jobs and being helpful with the kids’ by providing a community of sorts. But they’re located in the base, which makes sense on one hand and doesn’t on the other – and if you can’t drive you’re kinda out of luck.

              2. You forget one of the biggest problems with children today. The lack of companions is one side of the issue. The lack of responsibility and work is another. Today’s children are generally not expected to lift a finger until graduation. In previous generations children were expected to work up to their individual ability from a very young age. The crow scaring and berry picking mentioned earlier. Now, it is play and by yourself till adulthood, a very delayed adulthood

                1. Not in our household. Chores are a thing the kids start on from the age of three – even if it’s as simple as putting away their little plastic dishes into the sink, and putting them back in the cupboard when they’re dry. Ditto toys, and keeping their room clean. If I’m cooking I have the little boy stirring the onions so he learns not to be afraid of the pan and how to be careful around the stove.

                  They don’t have very many kids to play with though.

                  1. Then you are doing it right. however a couple of things. one is that IIRC you are not a resident of the US which is what I was referring to. The other is that it isn’t %100 just a large enough percentage to be dominate in our culture

                    1. It’s not that common here either I think. I’d sometimes spot topics of discussion where parents would ask ‘when is a good time to introduce my children to work?’ or how to enforce rules. There’s that same trend of being against spanking here, claiming that it ‘damages’ children.

                      Honestly? I see more damage done to children when they’re not given limits and discipline or rules to follow. I’m hoping that this trend is resisted; because currently spanking is still allowed but there’s a push for it not to be so.

                    2. Yes. We’re raising feral children. Even the great apes spank. And like with guns, it does same thing. The people who’ll respect “no spanking” are not the ones who’d have BEAT the child. They’re the swat to behind type.
                      There seems to be an autistic lack of comprehension that bad people DON’T obey laws.

                    3. I don’t quite know how the people who advocate no spanking, no punishment imagine that children will have any respect for authority if they’re basically instructed with ‘you don’t need to respect your parents’ authority.’ The whole “I want to be my child’s best friend” is stupid, because you’re (collective you) aren’t, you’re the parent. You can HAVE a friendship with your child, especially when they’re older, but young? They need to HAVE the parent figures.

                    4. I have a friendship with the boys now. I never AIMED for it. But it just naturally went from my being the authority figure to my holding their hands and advising, to now, where we joke around and care madly about each other.

                    5. “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”
                      Mark Twain

                    6. Spanking never worked with the Daughtorial Unit — we found extensive boring lectures were the route to take.

                      When the Daughtorial Unit had suffered sufficient exposure to school instruction on the rights of children and expressed willingness to call Child Protective Custody Services she received a quick summary of the benefits of living with her parents that would be unlikely to be continued under the regime of any custodial family, starting with catering to her peculiar dietary preferences and extending to indulging her even more peculiar reading appetites.

                      The topic never came up again.

                    7. Would that my younger son was so rational. Unfortunately afflicted with what’s known as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder”, but in previous generations would have been referred to as “Damned mulishness”, he never quite internalized such things.

                  1. Not just colonial bios. One of the books I read this year was Pioneer Children on the Journey West. Emmy E. Werner, the author, used diaries, letters and later recollections of children (extensively quoted) who made the overland journey. The work that the children did, from animal care to food collection, contributed to the survival of all.

      2. Leftists claim to believe in evolution but ignore most of its obvious lessons. Rightists claim to deny it but firmly grasp most of those lessons. I’ve never really comprehended why.

        They’re talking about the philosophy, you’re talking about the actual scientific theory?

        Thus far I’ve not met anyone* who denies inherited characteristics building up– a natural version of selective breeding. AKA, micro evolution, which is testable and well verified. *glances over at the big bowl of a half-dozen different apples waiting to be dried*
        The issue comes with macro evolution, where you take that very solid law of inheritance, then state as fact that it’s turtles all the way down and hitch it to an insistence that it was entirely random, including the initial lifeform(s).

        One’s quite useful in pretty much every aspect of modern life (even if we didn’t call it that yet), and can cause MAJOR issues if you ignore it; the other makes statements that can’t be tested at this time and outside of some specialized zones is useful for yelling at a higher power that (They) aren’t the boss of you.

        *I vaguely recall a couple of really, really bad trolls that I guess could have been insane instead of faking it, but I don’t think that counts.

        1. I have always maintained that Evolution (especially macro) is actually one of the strongest evidences FOR God (which makes heads explode everywhere.) And I have seen people vehemently deny any form of inherited characteristic that changes over time… even as they are breeding cattle and horses for the characteristics they want. If it has the word ‘evolution’ attached to it, it’s wrong, no possibility of any argument so there and you’re too young to argue with me! (summation of an on going argument with several people at my church. It gets especially bad because we’re doing an in depth study of genesis at the moment.) There’s also a strong ‘scientists are, and must be inherently atheists who are out to destroy the church and all mention of God or they wouldn’t be scientists’ element from some of them. They keep forgetting I am a scientist. So yes, that end of the spectrum actually DOES exist. They are very irritating.

          While I’m not a paleontologist, I’ve looked at enough of the rock record where you can see the trends, piece things together. There are so many ‘wtf?’ bits and pieces that I have discovered the people who most deeply study evolution are going ‘this cannot be random… random has been eliminated from the realm of plausibility.’ The mistake the rabid end of the ‘don’t understand evolution’ sets make (both of them) is to think it means more than ‘critters change over time and are generally getting more complex, sort of.’ Which has all kinds of head-explody (It’s a word!) implications for the people who actually study it. Add some of the recent studies that some DNA seems to be pre-programed but doesn’t come active until *headscratch* SOMETHING happens. Other DNA seems to be writable, but no one’s really completely sure… and it’s actually a lot of fun to watch the reactions and dig into the actual data. And Junk DNA isn’t necissarily… and the platypus is more screwed up genetically than it is physically and still doesn’t care as long as it can eat snails and worms and swim.

          1. *grin* I don’t know much about the DNA side, but that sounds like the science that I glimpsed and love– which is wildly different from the “I (obscenity) love science” version.

            If only there was a way to effectively get that stuff spread around!

            1. I did not begin to grasp G-D being outside of Time until I realized that when I look at my daughter I do not see “her” — I see the newborn babe I held in my arms, the toddler exploring the possibilities of a giant box, the kidlet reading under her nightlight, the annual sit-on-the-front-steps-and-point-at-the-crocuses-in-bloom photo, the beginning school adventure and the what-kind-of-idiots created this course catalog college student, and all the phases in between. If I do not see my daughter as a point in time, why would I imagine the Creator of Time saw me, or the human race or the world itself as other than a continuum?

              To an entity for whom Time is but a dimension, evolution is nothing more than tidying up the domino chain before tipping the first one over. With he ability to intervene and reset at will.

              Western science began when people realized that, G-D not being insane, the nature of reality adhered to rational rules which could be determined by close analysis, testing of hypotheses and development of theories. They sought to understand nature in order to better appreciate its Creator.

              1. Interesting. I’ve always felt awe of Him when going through the fossils at the Natural History Museum. It’s like… dipping your toe in the ocean. You touch just a little of the eternal.

                Of course, I’m known to be… Odd.

                1. It gets even more amazing when you start looking at all the cross links and how everything works with everything and the bigger you get the more complicated things are, and the smaller you get the more complicated things are, it’s only at our human scale that things appear simple. At most of our day to day functional levels the world is simple enough to deal with, the deeper we dig in any direction the more complicated and intricate things get. And he put it all there for us to discover and learn about and from. (also note, enthusiasm tends to pull people in… and if what you say makes sense they tend to listen and remember even if they don’t want to.)

          2. There’s also a strong ‘scientists are, and must be inherently atheists who are out to destroy the church and all mention of God or they wouldn’t be scientists’ element from some of them. They keep forgetting I am a scientist.

            While I don’t tend that way myself, I have also read accounts of scientists becoming religious after being in the field for some time, which I’m sure they most pointedly ignore.

        2. I think what was being alluded to is that, while they claim to believe in evolution, they have issues with things that are the product of evolution, such as the natural tendencies Sarah has brought up in the post, which they blame on either The Patriarchy, or White Privilege, or Misogyny, or Racism, or whatever.

          Or perhaps, to be more specific, they deny that some characteristics of human nature are exactly that, Nature, while using the theory of evolution as a weapon with which to attack religion.

      3. Leftists claim to believe in evolution but ignore most of its obvious lessons.

        Religion is obliged to be dogmatic (THOU SHALT NOT MURDER).

        OTOH, science is obliged not to be.

        It is best that religion be kept out of attempts to understand consistencies of nature. Really, the bridge did not collapse because it was possessed.

        But science absolutely has to be kept out of addressing questions regarding the meaning of life and what is right and wrong.

        Evolution happens. It’s been observed. OTOH, to insist that it explains everything is not just a statement of faith, but a delusional one and is anything but science.

        1. But science absolutely has to be kept out of addressing questions regarding the meaning of life and what is right and wrong.

          So we shouldn’t look how physical brain structures impact the ability to understand right and wrong? We shouldn’t look at how notions of right and wrong change through the ages, and how they stay the same, in as rigorous a manner as possible? Study things like honesty?


          Evolution happens. It’s been observed. OTOH, to insist that it explains everything is not just a statement of faith, but a delusional one and is anything but science.

          Depends on what you mean by “everything” now doesn’t it?

          1. So we shouldn’t look how physical brain structures impact the ability to understand right and wrong?

            Study the physical structure all you want but when you start saying that right and wrong don’t exist apart from it, you’ve ended up seeing how many times you can break the little boy’s leg before it stops healing.

            We shouldn’t look at how notions of right and wrong change through the ages, and how they stay the same,

            Absolutely feel free to study history but to deny that right remains right and wrong remains wrong regardless of what a political or cultural consensus claims you again reach the point of where you are breaking that little boy’s leg.

            Study things like honesty?

            Again cultural investigations are fine but you can only start deciding the likelihood of the truth being told in a particular circumstance when you recognize that objective truth exists.

            Depends on what you mean by “everything” now doesn’t it?

            It’s sort of like the meaning of the word “is” isn’t it? But rather than getting into abiogenesis we can limit it for the sake of my point to all biodiversity.

      4. Leftists claim to believe in evolution but ignore most of its obvious lessons. Rightists claim to deny it but firmly grasp most of those lessons. I’ve never really comprehended why.

        The “right” is certainly far from homogenous in regards to evolution, and the left–if you use “Democrat” and “Republican” as weak proxies for those–isn’t exactly singing from the same hymnal. (

        That said, people tend to dispute what they don’t like and support what their tribe likes.

        As I suggest below, I have little “faith” in the big bang or evolution. To me they are abstracts I cannot prove, and the evidence *I* can see and evaluate is no more consistent than “God Did It”. But there are problems with the God Did It bits, and the evolution/BB Creation Myth provide me some sorts of things I can make predictions on.

        The extreme form of “God Did It” expresses itself as the belief that God is present and active in every act and every decision we make. Literally “As God Wills”. This is a rejection of the notion of scientific principles *all the way down*, and is in stark contrast to the notion of Free Will.

        1. it’s fully compatible with scientific principles if you grant that He is free to act in an orderly manner.

        2. Three basic premises that go back, IIRC, at least to Thomas Acquianas(sp):
          1) God is not a capricious nut job, rather He is a rational being that behaves in an orderly manner; therefore, capable of creating things that are organized and systematic.
          2) God is not a trickster, that is He is not a liar and has not lied to us either about creation or in it; therefore, we can actually study creation with some hope of understanding it. We may not understand, but it will not be because we have been deliberately misled.
          3) God created. This means He created the laws of physics as well as the results of the laws of physics. Therefore both will be consistent with his own nature and reflexive there of (as a painting reflects the will of the painter).

          Does an engineer designing a car have to be there every moment to tinker with it? No. And part of the Omnipotence thing is he doesn’t HAVE to tinker with it. And part of the Omniscient thing is he doesn’t have to make adjustments he could set up everything in our advance (his ‘now’ which encompasses all of time.) For the record, I use these arguments on the Young Earth Creationists as well.

          Does He meddle, sometimes yes. Why? I don’t know… I don’t want to ask Sometimes He gives you want you ask for and you can’t turn it off. We don’t have a good ‘angle’ on His miracles to know how far in advance He planned them, again from our perspective. For Him everything is present progressive tense. Every generation discovers more than the one before… and every time we think there is nothing left to discover entire new fields of inquiry open up. The world gets bigger the deeper we look and the more we dig, but it does so in ways we can hope to understand. These are not the earmarks of a randomly generated system. For the ‘He should worry about bigger things than evolution’, do not confuse what people think He’s doing with what He’s actually doing. His hand is on small things, but also on large… and remember that he sees now, a thousand years ago, and ten thousand years from now as ‘now’. Be careful if you ask Him for a sign… He just might give you one and you may not like it. Also remember there’s another side out there, one that’s actively trying to sabotage the works…

          And on that note, I shall head to bed. I’ll try to respond to anything else tomorrow before get to the work-terminal-of-no-internet.

    3. “Strictly speaking, from a purely rational evolutionary standpoint, brains in a fertile female are only slightly more useful than nipples on a man. In order to fulfill her primary evolutionary function a young adult female only needs sufficient brain to instruct children in basic functions of the tribe and to get along with the other local females of comparable age and status.”

      Right. There’s no evolutionary value to a woman knows the types of mushrooms she putting in your dinner, if men don’t need their clothes to fit, don’t care if their leather rots, and the stores of food don’t last through the winter.

      We’re still the same species and stupid women’s children used to tend to die of starvation or food poisoning.

    4. If evolution encourages look-out-for-number-one thinking (survival of the fittest selfishness), then its believers should recognize its effects.
      I think they think they are the epitome of evolution so they have evolved past all that primitive stuff.
      Too many of them think introspection involves looking into a mirror an genuflecting.

    5. Acceptance of evolution is, in most aspects of modern life, utterly irrelevant. Do you care if your accountant, your lawyer, your doctor understands the principles of evolution or are you more concerned with their abilities to (respectively) navigate the tax code, protect your rights in contracting, accurately diagnose and prescribe therapies for illnesses/injuries?

      I would counter-argue that for the doctor a good grasp of evolution is a base for understanding how to evaluate the various therapies.

      At its base there is a single relevant difference between the “God Did It” crowd and the “Infinite series of caused causes” crowd, and that is that at no point in time can the latter throw up there hands and say “You can’t ask that question, it just *is*”.

      Evolution, and the related Big Bang Theory stuff stipulate a universe that is at most or all levels mechanistically causal. Things happen for a reason, and that reason is discoverable, traceable, reproducible, measurable etc.

      Those that deny Evolution (and I’m not picking any one kind of evolution here, just the general theory of the rise and fall, creation and extinction of species due to natural mechanisms) *start from* a box that says “God Did It”.

      I have no more *faith* in Evolution or the Big Bang than I do the book of Genesis–I can’t do the math to prove them, nor do I have the depth of understanding of biology, but BBT and Evolution give me (roughly) something to work with a generative theory that helps predict behavior.

      If God Did It, then that predictability is gone. Might as well *believe* that I’ll win the lottery the first time I buy a ticket because God wants me to.

      Strictly speaking, from a purely rational evolutionary standpoint, brains in a fertile female are only slightly more useful than nipples on a man. In order to fulfill her primary evolutionary function a young adult female only needs sufficient brain to instruct children in basic functions of the tribe and to get along with the other local females of comparable age and status. Beyond that we’re talking cars able to go 150 mph in an area where the speed limit is 35.

      First off that’s pure bullshit–life back then wasn’t as simple as the Romantics would like you to believe, you have to have some brains to survive.

      Secondly, when you look at the effects of early childhood nutrition on IQ, it’s likely that most people *did* have a somewhat stunted mental ability compared to today.

      Fourth you’re assuming that evolution follows the bible–that the male came first and from it evolved the female. It’s more likely the other way around.

      And finally you’re ignoring psychometrics which show that women tend to clump around the “average” IQ, while men tend to hit the extremes more.

      Well, at least in that paragraph you are.

      1. Those that deny Evolution (and I’m not picking any one kind of evolution here, just the general theory of the rise and fall, creation and extinction of species due to natural mechanisms) *start from* a box that says “God Did It”.

        this conflates two different scientific groups– the observable evolutionary theory, that species change over time in a manner that is passed down vs the theory that everything must be natural mechanisms, even if we can’t test for it– and the contrasts it with a group that includes some supporters of both micro and macro evolution, “God did it.”

        Thinking God being involved makes it so you don’t have a simple foundation is like thinking that any intelligent manipulation of genetics– either via GM, forced mutation or just selective breeding– would remove that basis.
        “Unless messed with, this is what happens” is a perfectly good basis for science.

        1. If God is the instigator of anything more than “Let Their Be Light”, then essentially there is no natural selection at all–God’s just the big Change Management System in the sky, approving some changes, and working to counteract unwanted changes/accidents/unplanned outages.

          Why? Because any change that happens He *has* to know about, and before hand, or if you throw out the omniscience baby, then the omnipotence bathwater either goes with it, or He could revert changes/make further changes at any time. (git reset –hard anyone?)

          However, I’m happy to dump the “No supernatural mechanisms all the way down”, and the “God hit the queball on the break and it’s still bouncing” and the “Well, sometimes God makes a Correction” folks into the same bucket when contrasted with the “The universe was created in 6 days between 6 and 10 thousand years ago” bucket.

          I think the “Sometimes God makes a Correction” folks are misreading things, but that’s why Pluralist Liberal Democracies are great–I don’t have to shoot them for attempting to try me for heresy.

          1. I really hate to say this, but I think Futurama got it right as far as divine revision goes. God speaking to Bender, “If you do it right, they won’t think you’ve done anything at all.” In other words the Gods use a soft touch when altering the universe.
            Also, if the Gods can alter anything, why not our memories at the same time?

            1. This gets way off into the nature of God, and while I’m willing to do the Vox Diaboli into the early morning hours, but it has generally been a fruitless pursuit.

              Suffice it to say from my side that I have no idea if there is a God, god or gods, but if there is, and he’s incessantly meddling in the affairs of his creation then he should be fixin on a lot of other stuff than worrying about the genetic divergence of field mice and hemorrhagic fever viruses.

              1. But that would take all the fun out of it for us. Without serious issues we don’t grow. There is virtue in the fight

              2. Tsk. If there is an omniscient omnipotent entity I am not so arrogant as to think I know what He should spend His energies on. Perhaps humanity is His tool for evolving field mice into His ultimate Creation. Certainly, a non-anthropocentric view might suggest that we merely exist as bacteria transport devices.

                1. If he didn’t want me making moral judgements then he probably shouldn’t have allowed that ability to be evolved.

                  Now, if you want to argue for a bacterio-centric God that doesn’t care about most of his creation, go ahead, it will be a newline of discussion I’ve not heard before, and you seem to be smart enough to make it interesting.

                  But it kinda, sorta goes against scripture and what most people–even most educated people–speak of when they use the term “God”.

                  1. It isn’t that He doesn’t want you making moral judgments, it is simply that He doesn’t care about the moral judgments of “blind men” who not only can’t perceive the entire elephant, they can’t perceive 0.001% of the elephant. Particularly when those “blind men” are incapable of admitting how little they grasp of the elephant.

                    When you can adequately define consciousness for me I will entertain a debate on whether the bacteria are distinguishable from their transportation.

                  2. “Now, if you want to argue for a bacterio-centric God that doesn’t care about most of his creation,”

                    Actually, both in number and mass, bacteria are the largest portion of his living beings.

                  3. “If he didn’t want me making moral judgements then he probably shouldn’t have allowed that ability to be evolved. ”

                    Do you think that a valid defense for any use of any facility you possess?

                2. Re: bacterial transport devices. I once read a short story (can’t remember title or author, alas) in which a person dies and is waiting to be greeted by God. There’s a discussion with someone else, and the first person, IIRC, makes the case that the afterlife is for bacteria which keep the human body alive. Then Jesus shows up, says “in my Father’s house are many mansions”, and the souls of the two dead peoples internal bacteria migrate out of their ecto-bodies and into Heaven.

                  Wish I could remember the title…

          2. Your answer is flawed in being premised on G-D’s being constrained by Linear Time. There is no reason to make that assumption and many reasons to reject it.

          3. Don’t agree with your assumptions, not going to try to argue it. If you got here, you’ve already heard them and rejected them, and really not the time or place for it.

      2. And finally you’re ignoring psychometrics which show that women tend to clump around the “average” IQ, while men tend to hit the extremes more.

        Well, at least in that paragraph you are.

        No, that’s what would be expected from RES’s statement. Clearly a minimum level of intelligence is required, as he pointed out in an earlier response to a criticism, yet higher than a certain level confers no significant benefit to a pre-agricultural society. On average, that is. For the hunter, the below-average to average intelligences are good for bringing in the standard fare, while the brilliant ones are good for developing new strategies and techniques for bringing down game that is either larger, more fierce, or more scarce than what they had been hunting before.

        1. I should have been more specific. The “Average” in that case isn’t the average for women, it’s for both men and women.

          And if you compare the two directly (men v.s. women) the average IQ is almost identical.

          The world (or the universe) is a big, complex place. Even in a pre-ag society. Heck, ESPECIALLY in a pre-ag society. Today we coddle our idiots, even elect them to high office. Because we haven’t had a real famine in over 100 years. Heck, we’re so far from dangerous that we don’t think anything of plugging our ears with loud noises and going walking down busy streets focused on something 18 inches from our face–AND WE DON’T (usually) DIE.

          I have made the argument several times that there is a slice of the bell curve (say the second standard deviation) that confers little advantage to the individual. Society benefits generally because this person can be a bit more productive, or can figure out/fix things a little better than average, but they do not have the raw intellect to excel (they can combine an above average intellect/genius IQ with low time preference and good executive function and get somewhere, but generally anyone with a low time preference and good executive function is going to do well, if they aren’t a drooling moron).

          Our society is, and always has been built for (and largely by) those with average IQs. Has to be, because that’s where 68% of the people are (or more accurately, 85% of the population are at or below the first standard deviation of 115). If you’re on the left hand side of that curve there’s help. Those on the right side, they can take care of themselves.

          Now, if you want to interpret RESs position that women didn’t have to be any smarter than men in a pre-industrial society, Well, they probably weren’t. I read both of his posts (and the second only after I’d posed that) to mean that there was no evolutionary women to be *as* smart as men. That’s crap.

    1. A pretty face is usually distinguished by those factors of symmetry and balance that denote good health and fecundity. Most tricks of make-up are intended to emulate those characteristics.

      1. A pretty face is usually distinguished by those factors of symmetry and balance that denote good health and fecundity. Most tricks of make-up are intended to emulate those characteristics.

        That is true. And let us not leave out expressiveness that shows life and thought.

        1. Yes, that is the difference between actresses and models — the active expressiveness of the former. Many a female (or, admittedly, male) face is meh until they become animated, at which point an observer can become fascinated.

          1. Thus the ever-popular line in many stories: “She was rather plain until she smiled, and then you could just see the sun shining from her face.”

      2. Okay, I now have old song lyrics running through my head.
        “Beware of pretty faces that you find. A pretty face can hide an evil mind.”

        1. Beauty is only skin deep, ugly goes all the way to the bone.

          Like any good long term investment, don’t get taken in by a fine paint job.

        2. Don’t let the wrong word slip,
          while kissing persuasive lips.
          Odds are you won’t live to see tomorrow.

    2. Not so much a pretty face, more what you do with it. Basic structure- regular, bilaterally similar features- are a significant factor, but facial expressions tend to mean more.

      A pretty smile goes a long way, but that owes more to behavior and attitude. People like being happy. Well, most of us- this current push for guilt and repression seems like a dodge to me- but by and large, happy is a pretty good thing to be.

      Happy people are the kind most folk like to be around. Maybe some of it will rub off on us. Laughter is contagious, ya know? A smile draws attention, bait and hook, and keeps it. Not a vacuous, pasted on kind of thing. Genuine warmth and happiness are darned attractive.

      A pretty face might get attention, but the attitude and expression behind it will keep it- or drive it away. Of course, there are those that ignore these things, but I’m not so sure those guys are looking at *faces.*


      1. I’d say that we don’t look *first* at faces instead. [Wink]

        Of course, an ugly expression often is a “turn-off”. [Sad Smile]

        1. Sometimes it depends on presentation, as to what I see first. After all, if she thinks that’s her best feature, why shouldn’t I give it a fair appreciation?
          Works in reverse, too: if the first thing I see is a face so ugly/angry/pouty I can hardly stand to look at it, I may not bother to look at the rest!

      2. Ever notice the similarity between Julia Roberts and Sandra Bernhard, feature-wise?

        Similar over-size mouths, similar over-size noses, and similar underlying facial structures. Look at them both in moments of relaxation, when their personalities aren’t animating the works, and you’ll be shocked at how closely they resemble each other. There are reasons why there are so few pictures of Julia in moments of rest and/or sleep…

        Now, look at the two of them awake and with the animus present for duty…

        Julia is considered a great beauty, while Sandra is considered quite unattractive. What’s the major difference? The ghost in the machine.

        I’d rather a sweet disposition and a decent personality, any day. Beauty can go suck it, because it will eventually reflect the inner person who’s wearing it.

        1. “Resting Bitch Face.”

          I’ve seen that defines as having a natural, relaxed facial expression that makes one look like one is really bitchy. A Dour mouth, lowered brows, etc.

  11. I am not sure, offhand, why I reached this conclusion, but for some reason I believe that women are attracted by male odor.

    There are various anecdotes and numerous studies I might cherry-pick to support this view but I feel no burden to support the assertion.

    1. My wife likes my smell, especially when I’m sweaty. I’m guessing it’s a combination of human male pheromones (which humans may or may not be able to detect) and conditioned familiarity (“My husband’s with me, I’m not alone.”) I like her smell too 🙂

      1. The whole purpose of smell is to avoid danger and choose good things. Like bad food or good mates. Smell is underrated and goes directly to the subconscious.

      2. Could make a just-so story where the fresh sweat smell indicates hard working and thus good provider while still being clean enough to avoid disease.

    2. There’s research out there to show that women will pick men who are histologically compatible, based on scent. They’ve done the whole double-blind study thing with coeds, for what that’s worth, using t-shirts worn by males without benefit of deodorant or perfume, and then offering women a choice between them. There was a very high degree of histological compatibility between the ones that women rated as their preferred choice, indicating that the matches would have been more likely to “make good babies”.

      Couple of things show up on Google:

      It is sort of spooky that women seem to prefer mates that smell like their fathers…

      1. If your mate is too different, you can* run into physical problems with the baby; if I remember right, similar studies indicated that women will prefer a distant cousin to, say, a brother’s smell.

  12. Aargh, lightbulb.

    Just figured out why a couple of guys who rant about how multitasking is a feminist myth (simplified for space, they would not put it that way) can possibly think such a silly thing– of course multitasking with making dinner, doing the laundry, doing the dishes and watching the kids is doing a lot of things at once! Otherwise it’ll get all messed up.

    I bet they really don’t do more than one thing at a time. A matter of focus or concentration, although that’s not exactly right… I don’t know if there is a word for the shade of meaning I’m grasping at.
    I can only reach that state with a really good book and the right state of mind*– my husband can manage it every week for his raids. Pretty sure you could lead elephants on a conga dance past and it wouldn’t trip the “EMERGENCY!” switch to get his attention.

    In caveman terms: focus on getting that mammoth down, and only the stuff involved there, or you’ll screw up and we all die vs “picking berries” means you’re choosing good berries, watching for any predator signs, making sure those near you aren’t screwing up the berry patch, building that evening’s meal in your mind with guesses about what Og is bringing home, trying to spot anything else to add to it because doing all those little jobs all the time is needed to make sure everybody doesn’t slowly die.

    Hm, that “all the time” might be part of why so many female bosses are horrible– multitasking would be useful in management and some work tasks, but the “always on” is going to burn people out, especially if it’s applied to all of the work tasks. (thus, the “multitasking: do a lot of stuff badly, all at once!” thing)

    * I’d been visualizing it as like when you’re so tired or sick that you can’t think of more than one thing at a time, but that’s not right– in that case, it’s more like your attention is split between what you’re thinking of, and “making room” to think in. They probably look a lot alike from outside, though.

      1. As a mirror of the “do lots of stuff badly” way of putting multitasking, possibly– they’re different tactics, so there’s different strengths and weaknesses.

    1. According to my wife, who is something of an expert in this area, multi-tasking of anything but the simplest tasks simply results in inferior performance of the tasks. I have found that playing chess and talking on the phone results in very inferior results….

      1. Not so much simplicity as focus. There’s a REASON ladies tend to be better secretaries, and it’s not Teh Patriarchy– Mister Mom may actually be a harder job than being mom, just because of the way guys’ brains tend to be.

          1. This was a problem for my father and myself when we were working on things that involved writing. Basically though, Rhys and the kids still know not to interrupt me when I am typing on the keyboard nonstop and very, very quickly. (I used to type 120wpm back in college. Had to. There were just so many papers to do.)

    2. ” but the “always on” is going to burn people out, especially if it’s applied to all of the work tasks. (thus, the “multitasking: do a lot of stuff badly, all at once!” thing)

      Former boss of mine compared that to juggling. Each ball may only be in your hand for a moment, but there’s eight or nine of them up in the air. As long as you’ve good subordinates who can be trusted to do their tasks unmolested, there’s no real need for that micromanaging style of “leadership” that is doing many things at once, all badly (to steal a phrase *grin*).

    3. Women’s multitasking also involve solving complex multi-variable social equations, as demontrated when Hermione Explains Cho’s Feelings.

      Well, obviously she’s feeling sad about Cedric and confused about liking Harry and guilty about kissing him conflicted because Umbridge might sack her mum from the Ministry and frightened of failing her OWLs because she’s worrying about everything.

    4. Think maybe I have some perspective on this one. Having been a househusband, I had to fake being able to multitask. The only way I could manage was to cut all the things I was keeping track of into tiny pieces that could be accomplished in a minute or two. (Fold this load of laundry, then check on Libby, then pay bills,etc.) Trying to keep everything in memory at once guaranteed I would miss something.

    5. I’m one of “those” types. 🙂 Now, due to chronic pain, I can’t concentrate that hard anymore. A lot of my ability to “process” is tied up in just dealing with the pain. Sigh. I believe it’s also tied in the “ability to see the ‘big picture,’ in small details.” A woman can see “small details,” and process them for danger. Men, see the “overall big picture,” and compare it to “things that didn’t go well.” IOW, two different ways of seeing the same things. In Men, it’s probably more like “pattern recognition.” Big picture, then filling in smaller details. For women, probably the reverse.
      It would fit the way evolution seemed to have designed the two. Men can’t ignore the possible “grass moving the wrong way, means predator.” Women, OTOH, “those berries don’t look right, is the patch healthy?”

      1. Argh, and now I’m musing about the different roles that are filled in a TV-standard “five man band” type setup.

        Good thing it’s time for Mass. Maybe I’ll overcome the urge to craft a grand theory out of it by the time we’re home again……

        1. You mean, like Doc Savage’s friends? If you look closely you can see where the serial numbers have been filed off and the personas recycled for an awful lot of Marvel’s & DC’s characters (commonly created by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby), turning up as the Newsboy Legion, Challengers of the Unknown and even in the Fantastic Four and X-Men (Hank McCoy, the Beast, as originally presented was extrapolation of Doc Savage’s Monk Mayfair.)

          Similarly, Thor’s “Warriors Three” are merely Porthos, Athos & Aramis with new pedigrees.

          1. I’d guess it’s hard to identify who is stealing from whom, but I’d also bet there’s an entire sub-category at TV tropes for it…. I vaguely remember that the…Senti?… Five man gang had submentions for when one person did two roles.

            <= team mom IRL, so bad it's painful, but sometimes The Research Guy, too.

            1. There’s been some changes, over there, but the gist of it is still intact:

              “These are examples of teams that fit all five of the character tropes. Remember that they form a team dynamic; it’s always tempting to match two of the characters in a show, then try to convince yourself and others that the other characters can be squeezed/wedged/stuffed into the description of the other character types, but that’s not the point of the Five-Man Band trope. The individual character types exist outside of the band. The Five-Man Band only occurs when the team as a whole fits, not just a few characters.

              As a rule of thumb, if your band example has to justify more than two types, or a single trope with more than two sentences of qualifiers, you’re trying to fool yourself. If it isn’t a Five-Man Band, it isn’t a Five-Man Band.”


              Some of these may fit better:




      2. Dave Barry said something about women being able to see individual dirt molecules, while guys tend to not notice them until they join together in clumps large enough to support commercial agriculture.

    6. I think there is also something going on with regards to “social intelligence”. Most men are not very good at “picking things up” and/or “reading the signals” in interpersonal relationships. With men, it is all surfaces, no depths–In general, what you see is what you get.

      Women, on the other hand, seem to do better at synthesizing a more thorough image of what’s going on in relationships from a myriad of different sources and signals, ones that most males don’t manage to connect. This is, I believe, a side-effect of the way most male minds tend to focus on sequential tasks, while the general run of female minds are more holistic. In a lot of cases, men will notice something going on, but if it isn’t directly related to what they’re focused on in that moment, it goes right into the sub-conscious, and stays there until it gets shaken free. Women, it seems, manage to keep those peripheral events there on the “working surface”, and are better able to manipulate them into what they’re doing.

      Buddy of mine was on his way home from a get-together, and his wife asked him if so-and-so had announced the divorce, yet. This struck him by surprise, since he had no damn clue that there was an issue with that particular couple (one of his key subordinates). His wife said “It’s obvious…”, and named off a half-dozen or more key indicators that she’d observed during the get-together. None of which impressed my friend, until he casually asked his subordinate if there were “…any issues at home…”. Said subordinate replied that there were none that he knew about, and my friend named off the things his wife had mentioned to him as perhaps being indicative.

      Cue some questions being asked at home, that night, followed by a request for him to get his ass out of the house, and the news that his wife had been talking to a divorce lawyer for a month or more. He’d had no clue, whatsoever, and the whole thing completely blindsided him. As it did every other male in their circle of friends–The women had all already noted her checking out of the marriage, and were all expecting what happened. One of them remarked that she’d seen the divorce coming the moment that she’d met the two of them together…

      I don’t know why this seems to be a “thing”, but it’s one I’ve observed time and time again–You want to know what the hell is going on in terms of interpersonal relationships, ask an involved or observing woman. You’ll likely get a very thorough analysis and run-down, going over details you might have observed but never connected. Things like body language, word choices, tones of voice–The stuff I never notice or put together, but that the women normally notice right off the bat.

      I don’t know how many times I’ve walked out of a situation where one of my female friends has said something like “Wow, she was really flirting with you…”, and I’d be looking at them like they were insane: “Her? No way… She wasn’t interested, at all…”. Followed by a complete listing of every cue I’d missed or failed to pick up on. Irritatingly, none of these friends ever bothered to mention anything to me when there was still time and/or opportunity to do anything about it–We’d usually be in a car, long gone from the scene. And, they were completely baffled that I hadn’t picked up on the same things they had…

      One of the huge issues between most men and women in relationships is that women seem to assume that men notice and process this stuff the same way they do–And, we really, really don’t. I think it’s something hardwired into biology, because most of the males I run into have the same set of issues in noticing these things and acting on them. It’s a very rare male that seems to do these “read and react” drills effortlessly, and most women, it seems, can walk into a room and give you a pretty good read on what the hell is really going on between the occupants.

      Learned skill? Informed ability via biology? Feminine conspiracy? I have not the slightest idea, but I am convinced that it’s a “thing”.

      1. It goes to greater or lesser degrees (I’m definitely lesser, but learning) — and some of the things women “know” are guesses, like the ones that “knew” I was intimate with the guy I’m now married to when we weren’t even involved– but it really is amazing the difference.

        Male version? Threats. I can’t count the times that I was just really uncomfortable, and one of the guys later demanded to know why I hadn’t responded to so-and-so “obviously” threatening me.
        (This is easier to fake– if you’re around prey animals a lot, you learn to respond to “I’m scared” by doing things that signal “I’m tougher than you,” instead of shying away. Took me YEARS to figure out I was doing this…)

        1. “Male version? Threats. I can’t count the times that I was just really uncomfortable, and one of the guys later demanded to know why I hadn’t responded to so-and-so “obviously” threatening me.”

          Some of that is just due to a lack of experience in the male “world”, the one that most women never get to observe or play in. There’s a whole set of stuff that goes on between juvenile males that teaches “da rules…”, and if you don’t go through it, you have a hard time picking it up from the outside. Threat displays, boundaries… All that stuff.

          It’s one reason female bosses can be so disastrous when put in charge of things–They don’t know the limits, and when you couple the usual female modes of thought with attempting to copy the surfaces of what they observe in male behavior… Things get ugly, fast. I used to work for a woman, who just did not “get” how alienating and anger-inducing what she was doing actually was to most of her subordinates. She’s a woman who I’m pretty sure would have been shot out of hand by about 90% of her people, had they thought they could get away with it. And, it all came down to her mouth–What she said, how she said it. She could not communicate without somehow simultaneously mocking and questioning the competence/manhood/intelligence of most of the people she had working for her. Highly toxic, and I really don’t think she ever either understood it or even recognized what she was doing. She was genuinely puzzled when people went out of their way not to help her, or actively sabotaged what she was doing.

          I don’t care what the theorists say: There really are two parallel worlds, one male, one female, and they occupy the same space at the same time. The stuff that goes on routinely in the one realm does not transfer, at all–I’ve had to explain to my sister-in-law in nauseating detail why one of her planned interventions on behalf of my nephew is going to end disastrously, and the reasoning just doesn’t compute, for her. And, when she runs it by my either of my brothers, getting the same answer? She still doesn’t get it. It’s like explaining color to someone who’s more-or-less color blind. The three of us males “get it”, but the rules we’re operating on and judging by just don’t exist in the female realm.

          It’s kinda the way some girls can make bitchy, catty little remarks that leave the boys who are observing going “What just happened…?”, and the girl those remarks are directed at bursts into tears and runs for privacy. There is a whole set of cues, displays, and so forth that just don’t communicate themselves across the gender gap.

          To a degree, I think one of the reasons that Obama has such a problem in dealing with the rest of the world’s leaders is because he’s coming at confrontational situations and events from a very feminized point of view–He’s got absolutely no clue that he’s even being threatened, and he’s convinced that words actually mean more than actions. Meanwhile, Putin is completely baffled by the utter lack of male-style reaction he is expecting, and keeps pushing, seeking to find a defined limit. Obama is going to do the usual thing, and not resist what Putin does, until he has no other choice, and then he’s going to over-react. Where that one will end, I’ve got no idea, but it’s kind of scary to realize you can analyze world leaders from the standpoint of the playground, and be able to make sense of why they are doing what they’re doing…

      2. Thanks, I had been considering introducing this element as a value in favor of argument for female intelligence. It derives from living with children and men, neither of whom is any great shakes at communicating their internal thought processes. Mothers need to be able to decipher subtle variances in infant and toddler behaviour in order to manage the little darlings. They also need to decode nonverbal behaviour in males for a variety of reasons mostly too obvious to list.

        I wonder whether the tendency of girls to tease (which I believe they do more than boys but have no research to support the theory) is a way of honing these abilities?

        1. I don’t think the term “intelligence” as we generally understand it really describes the qualities we’re try to use it for here. It’s not that a female person who perceives and operates better in the realm of human relations is really any smarter or dumber than her male counterpart, it is that she’s perceiving and taking part in a world that is mostly invisible to him. And, the inverse is also true, in that there are things going on in the world he’s a part of that are totally invisible to her, because she’s simply not cued in to the signals.

          In a way, I don’t think use of the word “intelligence” is really helpful, because that tends to frame it in a very adversarial way, as in “You’re mentally deficient because you can’t see this interpersonal relationship crap that’s so clear to me…” or, “You’re a dummy because you can’t visualize how this mechanism works well enough to fix it…”.

          I think our culture has really fooled a lot of us into thinking that there’s not that much difference between the sexes, when the reality is that though we live in the same world, our viewpoints on that world are often totally orthogonal to each other.

          Assigning a value-laden term like “intelligence” to this sort of discussion distorts it. I think it would be more productive to term it “male world-view” vs. “female world-view”, and accept that those are two value-free positional poles on a spectrum that covers a lot of the same mutual ground.

          Take the different ways we tend to navigate, between men and women. Ask a male for directions, and he’ll usually give you something from his own internal map, which is generally going to be distance- and direction-based. Ask a woman, and she’ll usually give you something based off of landmarks she’s familiar with. What’s interesting is to sit down with male and female training subjects that you’re trying to teach land navigation to, and ask them to draw maps of how they have internalized their locations.

          Ask the question “How did we get to this training site…?”, for example: The male participant will usually tell you something like “We came down on the main road from the barracks parking lot about a mile, mile and a half, turned right onto the tank trail, and went another three quarters of a mile and turned left into the woodline…”. The female trainee: “We left the parking lot by the big red building and then went down the road that goes by the fire station, and turned right on that gravel road that has the big tree on the left side, went down that until we were a little past the corner of that big pond, and turned left into the forest…”.

          Males will usually draw out something that resembles a standard map; an awful lot of women will give you something that looks a lot like one of those heavily stylized flow-chartish things they do for subway networks, with landmarks described at the junctions. What’s really strange is that there doesn’t appear to be a lot of congruence between navigational styles and behavior/appearance–I’ve gotten some very good sketch maps from women who presented as extremely feminine, better than the ones I got from the guys, and I’ve gotten some really bizarre renditions of landmark lists out of women who were about as feminine as a tank. Is this cultural, or biological? Hellifino… I just know it’s a “thing” that I’ve seen in teaching land navigation.

          I think there are some very different ways of thinking, when it comes to conceptualizing and internalizing a manner of looking at the world. I had one young lady I just could not get to, when it came to having her look at the map and then translate that into terms she could think about in her head. Spent most of an afternoon with her, asking questions and making suggestions about how to think about things, and by the end of the day, I had a damn headache, and she was still having massive issues with the entire concept of “map-to-landscape around us”. When I got the chance, I went back and looked at her ASVAB scores, and sure enough, all the spatial stuff was about as low as you could score and still pass the test. I finally concluded that she just did not think the way I did, and I’ll be damned if anyone else thought the way she did, either. I asked her how the hell she got from the mess hall to the barracks, and then to the PX, and she just got wide-eyed, saying she was always worried about that, and just followed the signs or went with a friend… One of her friends reported finding her wandering around the adjacent Air Force Base one afternoon when they were supposed to meet down at the mall. Navigationally challenged? Oh, yeah… Smart as a whip in a lot of other ways, though.

          Men and women will both tell you how to get to the same location, but the manner in which do it will reflect how they think about the world and their place in it, which will influence how they think about that whole “Point “A” to Point “B” thing, and how they communicate navigating between the two to you. Good luck getting directions from someone who doesn’t even conceive of the world the same way you do, though…

          Most women I know well enough to have an idea about how they think are generalizers, synthesists who take in all sorts of disparate information and then generate an answer. My Mom typifies this sort of thing–You ask her to describe how she got from Point “A” to Point “Z”, and she’ll promptly make you wish you’d never asked. Where I’m a very typical male-pattern linear thinker who progresses from a to b to c to d to…, my Mom will describe a process that goes a to q to x to c to r to something completely unrelated, yet congruent… And, she’ll somehow skip entire steps in the sequence through some mental wormhole to arrive at Point “Z” long before I work through my thought process. And, if you ask her to justify her thinking, she’ll just airily wave her hand and say “Because…”. Can’t explain it, just knows it. And, she’s generally bloody right.

          My sister, on the other hand, is like I am–Generally, a straight-process linear thinker. Both of us wind up staring at Mom, whenever we ask her how she came to a particular conclusion, because we cannot even begin to fathom how she did it. Couple of years ago, I was asking Mom what the hell led her to marry her two personally disastrous husbands, and she got kind of a funny look to her eye as she thought about it, and replied with something to the effect of “Well, you know… I’ve never really thought about it like that, but I guess they just smelled right, to me…”.

          You can imagine my response to that, and the look on my face. Discussions with my sister led both of us down the path to “She’s losing it, better find a nice home for her…”.

          About six months after, I’m reading a magazine during one of my data raids on the base library, and I find the abstract of that research we’ve referenced above that they did with the male t-shirts and the female co-eds picking their preferred body odors.

          Now, whatever you might say about Mom’s taste in men, the fact is, she did pick some good genes out, in terms of health and physical traits that were compatible with her own genes. All four of us kids are pretty healthy, and fairly intelligent (although, I do wonder about myself on occasion), so she did something right, there.

          And, for reasons and using reasoning that are totally inexplicable to me and many other male-rational people. “They smelled right…”??? That’s how you picked your husbands? WTF, Mom… But, aside from the issues relating to the two of them being semi-sociopathic dirtbags in a lot of respects, she got a couple of good sets of genes to combine with hers, so it worked out. It’s just that I can’t follow that particular thought-rabbit down its hole, y’know?

          1. There was once a theory* that when a woman kissed a man** she was engaged in a complex subliminal chemical sampling process. This includes checking for genetic match, immunological compatibility and numerous other factors, all of which contribute to her go/no go decision.

            *I don’t whether the theory has been falsified and rejected, proven true and accepted or proven true and rejected. Probably the last.

            **I bequeath to others all speculation about what the man is doing.

            1. One of my boyfriends, with whom I was completely compatible in the mental/emotional parts of our relationship, the first time I kissed him was… a complete turn off. And for none of the logical things. I mean, we were hygienically compatible also, but it felt like kissing my brother (which, considering he was Scot-Hungarian is a bit odd.) THAT is the only mechanism I can think of for that to work.

              1. One of my boyfriends, with whom I was completely compatible in the mental/emotional parts of our relationship,

                Maybe like kissing your brother. I remember reading something once about how those who grew up together on Israeli Kibbutzes just could not get interested in each other no matter how far apart the family relationship.

    7. There’s probably a bit of an over-generalization going on here. There is pretty good evidence that actual multitasking is in fact a myth. What people call multitasking is actually hopping from one task to another in a series of shifts of focus. in general, it appears that women do this significantly better than men. I would suggest that the studies related to this are what they are using for the basis of their arguments.

      I have no evidence, but my hypothesis is that this is because women don’t tend to immerse themselves as deeply into each thing as men do, so find it easier to switch from one to the other, as well as having the superior memory skills to keep track of where they left off when they last switched focus.

      I find that there are some subjects in which I can maintain a good multitasking capacity, and these are either things that don’t require much concentration, or things that are closely enough related that switching doesn’t require a significant reset.

      1. They did offer studies– the details of the studies had nothing to do with multitasking, though. They didn’t even look like what you’d do in an actual office. They just tested “switching between two very different tasks that require full attention vs doing them straight through.” It’s not news that multitasking isn’t a universal thing.

        Kind of like that newspaper standard of “do people stop to enjoy beauty” where they put a world-famous musician in the subway– when everyone is headed for work. The conclusion was built into the study.

        1. Oh, I forgot to mention – I personally consider the “switching focus” thing to be the definition of multitasking (but then again, I’m a computer guy – that’s what multitasking in a computer is), but apparently a lot of people don’t. Thus, the experiments, and probably the reason there are some people like the ones you described: They can’t do what they perceive the definition to be, therefore no such thing exists. Whereas I see it as something that is natural, and everyone can do it to one extent or another.

          1. Ooh, computers might be a good way to explain it; there are some things that take all your free resources, but there are some where you’re doing a low level background task or five while you’re doing something else, and it only interferes when the processing power demand spikes, in which case you’ve got to switch to the previously background task….

            Nah. They’d still insist that there’s no such thing as a split focus. But it might work on folks who aren’t so tied up in the thing not existing at all.

          2. There are two types of “Multitasking” in computers, the first is what you’re talking about–where there is a single CPU, and some combination of the kernel and user mode code conspires to “switch focus” of the CPU from one process or thread to another based on whatever.

            This has been around forever and is what computer people think of when they hear multi-tasking, but that’s not what other people think of.

            What they think of is more like a multithreaded program running across several CPUs with full access to memory. You now, actually *doing* several things at once.

            Beyond the trivial most people *cannot* do the latter well, at least not when the task requires thinking. Yes, you can sit there and crochet/knit while cooking and (in the modern world) doing the laundry AND listening ot the radio. Because your hands are doing one thing that is operating below the level of intellect, while your brain is listening to the radio and your nose is dealing with the cooking. When your nose triggers an interrupt (in computer speak, but ITYNWIM) you context switch–put down the knitting (save off the registers) attend to the cooking, check the dryer, then back to the knitting.

            Most of us can “multi-task” like this. One can walk down the street and have a conversation and still be scanning for threats. I can be deep in solving some problem/digging out a bug and hear my name. Sometimes I can even smell the cooking.

            And yes, I’ve gotten up from the computer to change my daughter’s diapers when she was 12 months old.

            I can’t listen to a security webinar and browse the web at the same time, but I can listen and play CivII. Different parts of the brain. And this is what is happening with the Laundry (time based), knitting (hands), cooking (smell) and radio. Different parts of the brain.

            There is some evidence to suggest that on average women have more connections between the halves of their brains than men, and that this lets them track stuff better. But I’ve seen scant evidence that significant numbers of women can really run two full time jobs in parallel.

            What might be the difference is a distinction that used to be drawn between “co-operative multitasking” and “pre-emptive multitasking”. In the former it is the application that chooses when to hand control back to the scheduler, while in the latter it’s a matter of the scheduler (and/or other external events) that trigger a task swap.

            Now, if you want to argue that men are better at staying focused while women are flighty…

      2. There are numerous counter examples available of men multi-tasking effectively. From a chef supervising a large kitchen to a building contractor approving multiple details to a grandmaster playing simultaneous multiple opponents (blindfolded ((the grandmaster, not the opponents))) to a military commander engaging in war, men have demonstrated the ability to multi-task.

        Just so, women have demonstrated the ability to engage in complex arithmetic processing, as testified by any number of knitting (essentially a binary function), weaving and other crafts popular primarily on the distaff side.

        1. Ah, but the male versions there you mention are all related to the central task– so they were insisted to be the SAME task, like how walking across the room happens at the same time you’re breathing, but isn’t multitasking because breathing is part of being able to walk normally. (for long, anyways)
          In contrast, women tend to smush similar things together– the infamous “things that are said and things that are typed get mixed together” example, because they’re both words.

          Now I’m wondering about the stats on distracted driving, and how you’d remove the “they’re just horrible drivers” from the equation, for which is dangerous…..

    1. This is probably more a matter for women than for men, hence the preference for older males whose character is (believed to be) more expressed in their appearance. Because women are presumably selecting more for character — willingness to support and protect — that would follow.

      OTOH, this may be mostly an artifact of writers citing “weak chin” as a tool of indicating flawed character.

      1. This is probably more a matter for women than for men, hence the preference for older males whose character is (believed to be) more expressed in their appearance.

        I’m not so sure. Think about it, what’s more attractive: a girl who can’t push the plate away or a girl who works out regularly? A girl who brushes her teeth and bathes regularly or one who doesn’t?

        On the flip side, I think the short guy who dresses neatly and works out almost always beats out the tall guy who is a slob.

    2. I’d say a lot of it, though it’s more of an art than a science.

      Philosophical evolutionists would argue that what we are identifying as “character” is post-justification for genetics, though.

      1. Philosophical evolutionists would argue that what we are identifying as “character” is post-justification for genetics, though.

        Which is why evolution doesn’t make much sense to me.

      2. There are the exceptions, too. Citing movie stars as readily recognizable examples, if you look at Barbara Stanwyck in repose you will note that her nose is all wrong for her face, but when her face is in action the nose doesn’t impinge on your consciousness at all. Or take Sophia Loren, about whom it has been said, her features, taken separately, are all wrong, but put together the way they are … ooh-lah-la!

  13. “imagine being very pregnant and having to trek between summer and winter camps, hundreds or thousands of miles, with dangerous animals on the way.”

    And doesn’t the desire to not have to make that trek, but to find a place where the living is easy and abundant year round provide the impetus for dreams of halcyon times and places — Eden? Utopia?

  14. My first reactions to Emma Watson and her speech; she looks cuter than she did in the movies, but her speech is utterly moronic. Doubtless many women had different perceptions…..Current research shows there are thousands of differences between male and female brains, including the way they develop after birth. God and natural selection made us that way, and there is no reason to change anything–but cultural marxists want to make everyone feel guilty or miserable, as well as uneducated, for their own sinister reasons….

  15. “It’s taken millennia of civilization and conscious education and religious preaching to get us where we are. You want to see countries the males have it all their own way look to the Arab countries. You want to see a place girls rule, look to middle school. Neither are happy places.”

    This is the money quote for me today. Perfection.

  16. Since evolution proceeds so slowly we are now well adapted to human life of about 100,000 years ago. Maybe in another few hundred thousand years humans will be well adapted to life today. That’s the conundrum we live in. It causes a lot of social problems.

    Females of the distant past needed to mate with a male who could be counted on to protect her and her baby or they would likely die. Modern females have more in common with grizzly moms who need to get rid of the male right after conception because his job is done and his continued presence will be a nuisance. Human males still want contact with their children. Human females are confused about what to do. Sometimes they like having him around, other times he’s just a nuisance. They don’t really need him. There are more jobs and resources for women than men anyway.

    The current crop of males recognize this, even if they don’t consciously think it. That’s why they’d rather fire up a joint and play a video game than do all the hard work of trying to make a family. Feminists are getting what they thought they wanted, and neither they nor the men they have made are happy with the result.

  17. I think that one day we will be able to rebuild humans, but

    … and this is a big but …

    … if a design doesn’t work well both on internal logic and how it meshes with most of the other designs, then people embodying that design won’t do well in life. And most of the designs the Leftists propose fail that test.

    1. Building something requires some idea of how it works, and how the parts work together; even if it only comes from rule-of-thumb experience. We are still founding out things about how humans tick, and how the parts work.
      Until then, I would not want anyone trying to rebuild me – especially since there are too many who think they have all the answers, and thus are not looking for more information.

  18. Is sexism rampant? Not in the US. There is a difference between your instinctive evaluation and the back brain and hiring decisions. That’s a conscious thing, and most sane people try to make it from learned principles which include fairness.

    We are probably not only one of the least sexist societies in the world, but one of the least sexist societies which has ever existed, which is why I find the claim that “America is sexist” absurd — since it obviously is being made from a POV of perfect sexual equality. But no society has ever worked that way.

  19. “Gender is a social construct” is one of those phrases that proves a little knowledge, and even less thought, is a dangerous thing. Yes, some behaviors are defined by society as masculine or feminine. That has no bearing on male and female – in this context there is a difference between sex and gender. Furthermore, it tacitly dismisses the idea that a society might have very good reasons for making those distinctions. The male and female sex organs arise out of the same sets of cells. The idea that the hormones capable of turning a clump of cells into either a prostate or uterus could have no impact on the most complex organ in the known universe is laughably absurd.

    1. If you assume that Gender == Sex, yes.

      But then if you make that assumption you’re already failing.

      1. Well, like most things, it depends on context. In conversational English, gender and sex are synonyms, but in technical language they’re usually distinct. If you try to use a technical concept in normal conversation, you’re begging for trouble.

  20. The dress was mind bogglingly _strange_. Says the fat woman in jeans and baggy t-shirt.

    Lovely young girl though. Maybe I could introduce her to my older son . . .

    1. It’s the silly hem line. Is it asymmetrical, a handkerchief, yes, or just badly cut? The dress would look much better if Dior had left it with an straight, below-the-knee hem. *shrug* But I’m the one who thinks pencil skirts should be erased and who abhors uneven hem lines.

        1. Nah, regular skirts would just require some minor design modifications to work just fine. I mean, come on, they can put Southern Belle dresses on foot-high dolls and make them look right.

          1. ^^ CACS addressed the reasons for it already. This is also why it’s generally advised for short people to avoid wearing solid colors in ways that cut them into visual sections. This was one of the reasons why I wore solid black for several years (Clean lined, fitting-cut skirts and boot-leg pants. black shirt blouse) I looked taller – and apparently more intimidating, because my floor manager complained about the look. I looked more ‘serious’ than the rest of the subordinates, and when you couple that with glasses, heeled boots and hair done up, the effect was ‘business all over.’ Letting my hair down didn’t help, because then I was told I looked like I had a gun hidden somewhere, or knives, and was mistaken for a professional assassin. *eyeroll*

            I realized later on it had to do with how I stood. I didn’t slouch, or behave in that subtle deferential manner that other people tended to do. My body language conveyed “Person of authority” to other people around me back there. To me? It was just ‘standing.’ If I had a slightly different stance and demeanor, it would have been acceptable (think hotel hostess or airplane stewardess). This seemed to aggravate women more, though it would annoy some of the men too.

            1. And this about stance is something that irritates me all the time. It used to be that people were taught to stand up straight and keep their head up like they were proud of who they were. Now, I have seen at least on commercial where a woman dressed as a cheerleader stand by a product and slouch next to it in what is obviously supposed to be some sort of at least moderately sexy stance, but it just makes me cringe.

              1. Stance can be “interesting”. One time, Mom and me were walking at our Mall. This young woman was standing outside of one of the stores and Mom told me (not the woman) that the young woman was “displaying herself”. IIRC the young woman was doing something to her hair but while doing it her breasts were prominently displayed. As I told Mom, I didn’t think she intended it but it sure looked like the young woman “was advertising sex” (while decently dressed). [Grin]

        1. Not knowing what a “pencil skirt” was, I did an image search. Apparently a “pencil skirt” is what I’ve always thought of as…a skirt.

          Fashion confuses me.

          1. The “pencil skirt” is too narrow and confining. In a below-the-knee version, it looks like a recipe for disaster if the lady were to stumble just a bit, because she wouldn’t be able to step far enough to keep her balance.

            Besides, I like something a little more bouncy.

            1. Just as facial hair can create the illusion of a stronger chin or more balanced face on a man, the choice of skirt can change how we see the wearer’s figure and porportions.

              A proper Channel pencil skirt should have either a pleat (usually french, but box is also proper) on the center seam or a pair of knife pleats (if cut with panels). If done correctly the pleats will hang hidden when the wearer is not in motion and the skirt will appear to be straight, but it/they will allow the wearer to sit, walk or run comfortably.

              Pegged skirts, on the other hand, get narrower at towards the hem, and if long one will understand how they got the nick-name of hobble.

              1. Ah. Thus indicating how vast (NOT!) my knowledge of fashion terms is. Thanks for the clarification.

              2. The problem I’ve encountered is finding a pencil skirt with the pleats. Instead, being of a curvy nature, I was informed that I needed to buy a pencil-style (pegged) skirt at last two sizes larger than my usual and have it tailored for the “proper” fit. If a garment requires structural re-engineering in order to fit, I’m not going to wear it. There’s also the problem of getting in and out of my Tacoma without tearing the skirt or flashing passers-by. I’ll stick with A-line and dirndl skirts, which means vintage or imports for suit skirts.

                1. Sadly right now most skirts do not come with closed ‘kick’ pleats. Many manufactures chose to limit the steps needed to build a suit skirt and thereby keep their costs down. Some manufactures do put in open pleats and others simply put in a slit. Why do they think grown-up women in business suits what to look like they are girls who are dressing up pretending to be women who do business on the streets? (And why do so many women tolerate it? — I guess if it is all you are offered…)

                  There is the fact that standard sizing just doesn’t take into account the range of body shapes people actually come in. That was why my Momma learned to sew and The Daughter is following in her foot steps.

                  Meanwhile, it is only a matter of time before the styles change…and a women will be dissatisfied by the fit of what they can find in the shops in a different way.

                  1. Why do they think grown-up women in business suits what to look like they are girls who are dressing up pretending to be women who do business on the streets?


                    Same nuckfuts who show us men who can’t buy collars in the right size and won’t cinch their ties up properly, so now all of America is following that ghastly custom.

                    And we’ve got a president who can’t keep a tie around his neck or his shirt sleeves rolled down.

                    See my rant about role models.

                    1. Some of us cannot afford tailored shirts and are not sized typically. The shirts that fit my chest are the ones with a 15 inch neck, I have a 19inch neck. When I buy a shirt to wear with a tie I must either spend large sums to alter it or never take off the jacket. The pocket is somewhere around my waist. I hate clothing in this country

                    2. I can’t wear long-sleeved shirts — three-quarters falls at wrist level, long goes over my hands — and I’m not a mandarin.

                    3. I may have been born to hang, but I only plan on wearing a noose once in my life… and I’m not putting it on myself.

                2. My way around that has been to go for pencil skirts with stretchy fabric, and if they’re below the knee (not advised for short people like myself, as they make me even shorter) they have a slit to at least just above the knee. I do acknowledge that with my shorter legs, I don’t have a wide stride so a normal walk is not impeded by one.

                3. Instead, being of a curvy nature, I was informed that I needed to buy a pencil-style (pegged) skirt at last two sizes larger than my usual and have it tailored for the “proper” fit. If a garment requires structural re-engineering in order to fit,

                  It is routine for men who wish their suits to fit properly to spend quite a bit of money having the jacket and trousers fitted. I’ve spent upwards of $150 just on alterations to a new suit.

                  here’s also the problem of getting in and out of my Tacoma without tearing the skirt or flashing passers-by.

                  Do it like a sports car. Ass in first, the swing both legs in together. Out the same way.

                  1. “Do it like a sports car. Ass in first, the swing both legs in together. Out the same way.”

                    That would work great for you or me (although hopefully neither ever have to wear a skirt) but someone a foot shorter than me has to step up to get into a 4×4. In fact at six foot, my Tacoma after I put the new heavy duty springs under it, which I could only find in a three inch lift (and I wasn’t spending twice the money to have custom, stock height, heavy springs built) the seat is right at my belt line, so even I have to step up.

  21. About women and very sexy voices- some women really have them. If you remember what operators were, my brother was one on a large military base. They would frequently field calls from young women wanting to be connected to any barrackes, didn’t matter, just to talk. And operators, or course, got first pick of the callers. According to him, all the operators quickly learned to arrange a first meeting in a busy public place so as to do a driveby viewing. 90+% of the time voice and body were a mismatch. They were all searching for that <10%.

      1. Corsets are awesome until you realize the visual for the panel is back in the hotel room, on the other side of the con. Running in a corset is eerily similar to an asthma attack.

          1. My husband uses a can to walk as much as he can manage. No children, nor servants, so… If you see someone in a blue gown and corset, skirts bunched in one gloved hand as she tries run as fast as breath will allow, I might be at your convention. And late again.

            1. Oh now you’re in trouble. I can identify and delay you until you give me signed copies of y’alls books to get out or the way. Ah ha ha ha ha

        1. Ya Know, if I managed to make LibertyCon ’15, we really should have a Hun and Hoyden dress-up event (absolutely voluntary, of course, but clothing will be required).

              1. I’ve been to a few cons. The thought of seeing the majority of the women naked does not appeal. The thought of seeing the majority of the men naked means I will now need therapy

          1. You mean if I come as my True Self (a Dragon), I’ll have to wear clothes? [Grin]

          2. I now own several corsets. This can be arranged. Of course, given my wedding will be at that Con, I already have a mandatory dress-up day… but likely not in a corset (I’m leaning toward 1940’s style dress with flared skirt, in blue).

          3. There were a couple of us dressed to the nines last year, as we decided that if the SJW would be insulted at the concept of lady, it was only right that we should be ladies to insult them. 🙂 Besides, it was fun.

          1. What about the other size type, the ones that are based on waist measurement? They go up to a 40-41″ waist (though there’s only one that size), which would be an 18-20, I think.

        1. Nag dabbit, I want that turquoise one, and the denim one, and it’s getting cool enough to wear something like that without dying (from heat).

        2. The lady who runs Epbot and Cake Wrecks says she has found they help with her cramping … iirc she was at a Con when they hit, got in her Lady Vador (Steampunk Vader) get up and found the relief.

  22. The title today gave me the mental image of the lumbering RV trying to accelerate onto the freeway to the tune of “Born to be Wild.” Thanks for the laugh 🙂

  23. I agree but I also hate it when commercials and sitcoms playing up the obnoxious male and female tropes. The nagging wife and hapless husband. It does a disservice to both men and women.

  24. It was interesting to me that the whole of the comments conversation revolved around male/female differences (and a wonderful topic that is!) but completely side-stepped the idea of “fairness” (I think is one of the most pernicious ideas ever promulgated.) It took me a while, but now I always look for “who wins/who loses” when confronted by “It’s NOT FAIR!”

    1. Of course its not fair. It wasn’t meant to be. Most of your religions ascribe to the theory that this is destructive testing on behalf of some God or other.

      1. I’m not sure about the “destructive…” My guess is it’s to shake us out of the belief that we ARE the center of the universe.

        1. Of course we aren’t the center of the universe, my cats are. “Center of attention, center of gravity, center of the uuuniverse”

                  1. That went over my head.

                    But I have two black cats who are brother and sister, Max and Minerva.

                    I don’t know why people are biased against black cats, because these two are sweethearts.

                    Except for the vomiting thing.

                    1. er… My secondary auxiliary alpha male is named D’Artagnan. He was actually born with only one testicle, which I understand has other issues in the kidney area. He’s ten, but his kidneys have always had low function. This leads to his being a pukematic. And my rugs are a favorite place, even though only about 10% of the house has rugs on it.

                    2. Oh! I just figured that Minerva and D’Artagnan was some kind of obscure Three Musketeers reference that I didn’t know about, since you’re so well steeped in the mythos.

                    3. My boys are also black. I call them Pete and Repete. That tells you all you need to know about my sense of humor.

                1. ….not if the soft stuff was dirt or sand, and the hard stuff rock.

                  Just realized that I’ve watched our cats “try to bury” stuff on cloth surfaces.

          1. HEEEEEEERE we are! Born to be fed! We are the center of the u-ni-verse!

            Here we belong!

            Fighting to survive on just twenty hours of sleep a day…..

            1. Hahahaha that is so true! And for my two cats, it is a continual source of angst that there is not only one.

        2. One Christian Men’s Group I was in had a series of discussions on Humility. There are two things I remember from it. First, be Humble or God will humiliate you. Second, wives help keep men Humble. [Grin]

          Oh, just after one of these meetings, I heard “Lord, it’s hard to be Humble when you’re perfect in so many ways”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

          1. One mistake many make about this is to deny talents with which He has blest them. It would be foolish were I to deny being smarter than the average person, just as foolish as it would be to think this meant I was better than others. Being smarter than 90% of the population still leaves you merely the tallest midget when measured against Him.

            Humility is a matter of maintaining perspective.

  25. “Yeah? There’s one way to do that. It’s called a radio. And even then, men will listen for sexiness and women for social status.”

    Thus the saying we used to use to describe certain women, “she’s got a face made for radio.”

  26. Eh. If I were to see Emma Watson my first thought would be to imagine her strangling Justin Beiber. And then I’d grin. And go reread Islands of Rage and Hope.

  27. There are women whose opinions wouldn’t be worth listening to if they uttered them while doing a pole dance and grilling a bacon-wrapped steak.

    There are women whose opinions would be worth listening to (as I’ve often realized after the fact, to my regret) if they looked like Leo McKern doing “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”).

    Still, I’d like to think I have forebrain enough left not to hire the stacked blonde who can’t work a spreadsheet over the plainer woman who can as my accountant.

    1. Everyone has their use, it’s just getting them in an appropriate role.

      The trouble is that often their expectations and their abilities don’t merge.

  28. That’s interesting to know about the black cats. Ours, Java, is a puke engine too. We’ll have to check that out.

    Of course he could just be acting out because our two rescued calicos get a lot of his former attention. Are all calicos completely mad? These two spend the entire day running the length of the house and wrestling.

    The first one, Clara, we got on Christmas day. We’d come home from dinner and she was sitting there, a palm sized ball of fur, perfectly composed on our air conditioner: “Hello. You own me. What’s for dinner?” (in case you’re wondering about the name, we’d just watched the new Dr. Who Xmas special).

    The second one, Clarissa, came along several months later. She was not thriving in the wild, matted and skinny, skittish as hell. After feeding her outside for a couple of weeks she just literally laid down on our doorstep and refused to move, so we took her in. She was more of an adventure, because she’d clearly had some serious trauma outside and brought some more with her, which led to her spending ten days in rabies quarantine after she bit through my thumb when we took her to the vet to get her shots.

    It’s amazing how much she’s mellowed since we brought her home: affectionate, playful, fleshing out nicely (Clara on the other hand, has literally inflated in spite of all the exercise: kitty from the shoulders forward, softball behind).

      1. Java used to be forceful; in fact he was something of a bully with my wife other cat back in the day. But when we merged households he tried to bull my 21-year-old cat, who’d been a brawler all his life… and the old fart fetched him a three shot box to the ears so fast Java just sat down and stared. Since then he’s been kind of at odds. The calicos aren’t scared of him and he doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself. Sleeps in the sink a lot.

    1. Current vet and retired vet swear calicos are 1) anti-social, 2) nuts, or 3) yes. Athena T. Cat can’t be bothered to state her opinion one way or the other.

      1. my uncles calico was both shy, and bold as can be.
        she was shy around strangers. but she would walk anywhere in the little town, and two foot past the lab with the beware of dog sign.
        Dog just sat in his house and looked like he was hoping the cat would just keep on walking by.
        Cat the like Danny Vermin … “Dog attacked me once. Once”
        Oh, she was about 35 pounds of calico. Papa was apparently a bobcat.
        She was the only one that looked like a housecat with a long tail.

  29. You look at an actress delivering a speech to the UN (and why was she picked? It certainly wasn’t for her brain. What is she famous for? Right, her looks and the ability to emote on camera. Um…) and you think “that dress is awful, and why did she do that to her hair.” And, male or female, you immediately feel guilty of sexism. And then when the merchants of equality come around and berate you on patriarchy, you feel guilty, and you know that sexism is indeed rampant. You know it instinctively.

    Heh. I don’t. I guess that makes me a proud male chauvinist pig sexist. Truly, though, I do get kind of embarrassed on those rare instances when I have a really difficult (No, I’m not going to say hard and give you guys an opening) time getting my mind OFF a woman’s appearance while talking to her over an extended period of time.

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