>> Saturday, January 12, 2008
Typing out that huge list of quotes from The Party's Over reminded me that I had done this once before and emailed it to my friends. So what the hell, I guess I'll just post it for the fun of it.
Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice for All Creation
Section and chapter headings and chapter summaries
Let Slip the Whores of War!
The battle of the sexes is no myth. Success at sexual reproduction is at the heart of evolutionary process. But greater success for her often means less success for him. The upshot? An eternal war--and an astounding diversity of strategies.
Chpt 1: A Sketch of the Battlefield
Boys are promiscuous and girls are chaste, right? Wrong. The battle of the sexes erupts because, in most species, girls are wanton.
"Men, you're in a cruel bind. Female promiscuity puts your genes at risk: it's no good seducing all the women in sight if none of them uses your sperm. A woman's potential for promiscuity curbs your own and exerts a powerful force on your evolution. Rather than maximizing the number of girls seduced--that is, acting like a cad--you should try to maximize the number of eggs fertilized. For some men, some of the time, this will amount to much of the same thing: more skirt chasing. On many occasions though, cads who spread their bounty will have fewer offspring than more loyal fellows, and so genes for pure caddishness will decline in frequency. Far better would be to attach yourself like the stick insect, explode like a honeybee, or evolve still other fates stranger than your strangest dreams."
Chpt 2: The Expense is Damnable
It's not easy being a male. Especially if you have to make sperm twenty times longer than you are. Or produce billions and billions of sperm in every ejaculate. Or copulate a hundred times a day to satisfy your partner. Or perform some other feat of prodigious sexual prowess.
"There's more to being a male than dropping your trousers. Good lovemaking is physically demanding--especially in species where females take additional mates. Then, sperm is anything but cheap. Not only will you have to ejaculate huge numbers of sperm, you may find yourself able to ejaculate only infrequently. This is bad news. If a female finds you inadequate, she won't wait around. She'll replace you. So before leaping into bed with the first dewy young miss who happens along, remember how Lord Chesterfield, an eighteenth-century Englishman, is said to have described sex to his son: 'The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.'"
Chpt 3: Fruits of Knowledge
Why do females sleep around? Because, as a rule, loose females have more and healthier children. The reaons for this vary enormously, however, from species to species.
"Folks, it's time to bury forever the notion that female promiscuity is an unfortunate accident--a 'malfunction,' the result of coercion, or simply a last resort to get a pesky guy to go away (known as 'convenience polyandry,' this notion presumes that a male will stop harassing a female once he's had his way with her). Which is not to say that females are never coerced or harassed into having sex. Or that sleeping around is always good. In the wasp Macrocentrus ancylivorous, for example, a female who mates too often gets clogged up with sperm and can't fertilize her eggs. But like it or not, in countless species--from grasshoppers to fruit flies, pseudoscorpions to spiders, red-winged blackbirds to prairie dogs--it is not simply that females mate with lots of males. It's that doing so is good for them: promiscuous females have more and healthier children. Natural selection, it seems, often smiles on strumpets. Sorry, boys."
Chpt 4: Swords or pistols
The art of dueling is knowing when to fight, when to flee--and when to play dirty.
"Boys, if you feel consumed with aggression, you're probably experiencing a testosterone surge. Keep cool. Don't plunge into battle with the first fellow you see--and above all, don't let yourself be goaded into fighting over a woman. Remember: there are few circumstances in which you should actually thrown down the gauntlet and fight."
Chpt 5: How to win even if you're a loser
What if you're poor? What if you're ugly? What if you're a wimp? What if you're a poor, ugly wimp? Relax and read on...
"A parting word to all you guys who worry about being small or looking unimpressive (and girls, too, take note). In many, many species, males fall into distinct types. Physical characteristics are coupled with personality traits, which means that you can tell how a fellow will behave just by looking at him. The number of types and their particular attributes vary from species to species. Two types, however, are especially common: the Hunk and the Runt. The Hunk a suffers from a God complex: he has a hgih opinion of himself, he's always keen to fight, and he spends lots of time strutting and preening. He often has many girlfriends, but he would be horrified at the thought that one of them might cheat on him. And although he's handsome, he has, alas, small private parts. The Runt is self-effacing in groups of other males. He dislikes fighting, but he's pushy with the girls. He is not to be trusted--he never commits to one woman and he's not ashamed to cheat on his best friend. But here's the thing: physically puny, he often has big parts. Runts make love, not war."
The Evolution of Depravity
Every war has atrocities: the war of the sexes is no exception. The more her deisres clash with his, the more diabolical the outcome.
Chpt 6: How to make love to a cannibal
Rule number one: Never get eaten during foreplay.
"I'm afraid we don't know why females in some species become man-eaters while their sisters in closely related species do not. All we can say--and it seems obvious--is that, without exception, sex cannibals are never vegetarians but always predators and that they tend to be larger and stronger than their victims and therefore able to overpower them. Boys, if you have fallen in love with a large, predaceous lady who tries to bite your head off, you may as well be the dinner as well as the date. If you suspect could be at risk, you must ask yourself this: do you want to meet your maker now or later? If the answer's later, then think SAFE SEX: Stealthy Approach, Forceful Embrace, Swift EXit. If the answer's now, think again: are you mortally sure you will be rewarded? If so, then prepare your last words--and pray your epitaph will be "He was fruitful." Girls, eating men without screwing them is just plain wrong. But hey, you only live once. If you like making mincemeat of your lovers, remember that cannibalism is the right choice if and only if you run little risk of remaining a virgin. If that's taken care of--bon appetit!"
Chpt 7: Crimes of Passion
Murder, wife beating, rape. Why do they happen? Because some boys won't take no for an answer.
"Girls, if you want the profile of a typical rapist, I can't give you one. In some societies, they are desperate losers. In others, they are married men. In still others, all males, whether young, old, subordinate, or dominant, use force sometimes. There is no general rule. So what's a girl to do? Here's my Guide to Self-Defense: 1. Don't attract attention. Hide or be otherwise inconspicuous. 2. Don't leave home alone. Hire an escort or, failing that, stick with other females. 3. Do avoid groups of idle males. If they congregate at a place you must go to, try to time your visit to coincide with the arrival of other females. 4. Do carry weapons. Males tend to be servile if females are well-armed."
Chpt 8: Hell Hath No Fury
So the guys fight and brawl with each other while the girls live in peace and harmony? Not bloody likely...
"Females don't have special weapons and rarely fight to the death over a man--pistols at dawn are not their style. But that shouldn't mislead you into thinking they don't fight over males at all. Females will fight out of: 1. Desperation--whenever there aren't enough males to go around. Shortages can happen for any number of reasons but are particularly likely in species where child care is time-consuming and the males so most (or all) of it. 2. Aspiration--whenever some males are obviously superior to others, that is, when females mated to the best males have more children than those stuck with lesser fellows. 3. Possessiveness--in species where males and females form pairs, females go to great lenghths to prevent their partner from taking other lovers. To remain the one and only, females attack possible rivals--and for good measure, distract or hound the male who strays. So if you hear it said taht there's a grand, harmonious sisterhood, you're probably hearing propaganda. In most species, it's not 'all for one and one for all.' It's every girl for herself."
Chpt 9: Aphrodsiacs, love potions, and other recipes from cupid's kitchen
What do homosexuality, new species, and love potions have in common? If you look closely, you may find that they are all outcomes of the battle of the sexes at its most fundamental.
"Girls, when you jilt one beau and go to bed with the next, pause for a moment to consider the countless ramifications, the evolutionary mischief that may result from your lust. As you fall asleep in his arms, picture the various weapons at work and imagine their gradual refinement over the millennia. Ponder whether you and your men are inadvertently playing a part in the slow creation of a new species and pray that your genes are well suited to your sex. For the only creatures who can hope to be exempted from this war are the rarest fo the rare: the truly monagamous."
Chpt 10: Till Death Do Us Part
Real happily-ever-after, till-death-do-us-part romance is almost unheard of in nature. Who has it--and under what circumstances does it evolve?
"For most boys and girls, wedding rings are made of fool's gold--real, true love is precious and rare, the confluence of bizarre biological forces. Several factors may contribute to monogamy, but you'll find that true love works best when it is absolutely MAD." (MAD = Mutually Assured Destruction)
Are Men Necessary? Usually, but not always.
Male and female form a fundamental, immutable dichotomy, the front and back of a single coin, her yin to his yang. Or do they? Actually, he is less essential than she is. That's right, a species can do without him but not without her. Some species reduce the number of males to the bare minimum. Some get rid of males altogether--and simply don't bother with sex. What's more, there's nothing immutable about the two sexes, nothing preordained about sex roles. Some species even transcend yin and yang: they have sexes, sure, but nothing as boring as females and males. Who? When? Why? How?
Chpt 11: The Fornication of Kings
Within human societies, incest is traditionally reserved for royalty. Other organisms, however, are not so elitist. And guess what? Regular practioners of incest dispense with males almost entirely. So when is it acceptable--or even desirable--for sex to be a family matter?
"To sum up, incest is not the prerogative of kings, pharaohs, and chieftains; more often, it better befits the humble residents of the king's eyelash follicle than his majesty himself. But whether your blood is regal blue or common red, I advise you not to frolic with family if you carry harmful recessive genes. For the time being, alas, there's no way to know in advance whether you have such genes."
Chpt 12: Eve's Testicle
How did males and females evolve? What was there before? Why do most species have only two sexes? When is it wise to be male and female both at once? When should you change sex? And what makes a boy a boy and, of course, a girl a girl? It's gender studies--but not as you know it.
"Gender bender. The next time anyone wheels out a stereotype and says, 'she does this, he does that,' here's your reply:
When you gaze at a couple and wonder
What trait makes him 'him' and her 'her'
Beware, for it's easy to blunder
And be false in what you aver.
Some creatures change sex before teatime,
Some others find two sexes dull,
And that virile male fish has no free time--
He's got all his kiddies to lull.
When it comes to the topic of gender,
Mother Nature's been having some fun.
Take nothing for granted! Remember,
You won't find any rules--not a one!"