A short while ago, responding to a post about the Australian organization that wanted to cover up cheerleaders’ midriffs, my old friendly adversary Dr. Libby Rae Shoan weighed in with a pair of coments. Hadn’t heard from the old dear for quite some time. So I went through some old files gathering dust on my hard drive and turned up this telephone interview I conducted with her a few years ago……
A new study published in Nature Magazine indicates that a woman’s preferences regarding a male’s features alter drastically within different phases of her menstrual cycle. In sum: during the week when conception is likely, they prefer “more traditional” (rugged) masculine features, while during the other three weeks, they incline toward smoother, less rugged looks.
What Do Women Want, Part 859.
Whenever issues of male/female relationships arise, I contact my favorite shrink, Professor Libby Rae Shone, Ph.D., for clarification. I reach her at her office.
“I saw that study,” she confirms. “Seems to be legitimate. Frankly, I don’t know what the big deal is.”
Yes, by now we’re accustomed to crazed, hormone-driven female inconsistency.
“I don’t read it like that,” she replies, dryly. “I think what this shows is that women more accurately and intensely reflect tensions between two natural urges: the innate drive for self-perpetuation, and the human attraction toward sensual pleasure.”
You don’t see it as yet another justification for women to whine about men’s barbaric shortcomings? How men can’t or won’t organize their secondary sex characteristics to match their mates’ menses?
“Don’t be silly,” she admonishes. “The closest to that I’ll get to that is to suggest the study illustrates another area where women are destined by nature to experience disappointment. But where you go from there depends less on physical science and more on ideology.”
From there I go home. Alone.
“It’s well established by now that of the two genders, it’s the female that more closely reflects natural phenomena,” she starts in.
The term “natural disaster” springs to mind.
“So for women to apparently change their tastes with a change in their bodies that parallels a change in the natural order of things, well, why should this either surprise or dismay us?”
Libby, I see a genuine qualitative distinction here. A “matter of taste” is chocolate today and butter pecan tomorrow. That’s a far cry from wanting to hump some Australopithean werewolf this week and Boy George next because your moon is in the seventh house or something. What does this say about woman’s self-control, refinement, and mastery over her own body?
“All part of the natural flow,” she replies, celestially. “And if it’s really a problem for anybody, it’s gropers in singles bars. If you’ve already achieved stability in your mating relationship, this can’t be relevant, even if it’s true.”
Evidently Libby doesn’t get out much any more.
“All human beings have preferences,” she rolls on. “And you’ll find scores of putative explanations for what they are and how we got them. This study simply illuminates one very basic pattern of human motivation.”
Assuming females are human, of course.
“Whereas it appears that the determining factors motivating males are, shall we say, less selective than females, this study actually underscores the complexities of similar subconscious conduct among females.”
What you affectionately label ‘complexity’ in females goes by other labels among males. Like illogical, inconsistent, irrational, maddening, bitchy, crazed, Babbit-ized, etc. And those are the clean ones.
“Your hostility is unwarranted. You need to get over your typical male revulsion for the feminine mystique.”
You mean I shouldn’t get exasperated by a scientific study that celebrates a link between women’s tastes and their menses while simultaneously enduring women who loudly condemn men for “thinking with their little heads” all the time?
“It’s not the same phenomenon at all,” she sniffs. “In one case, we have a natural instinct to perpetuate the species by selecting specimens that nature itself suggests have the best chances of survival.”
Gotcha. One week a month, Mother Nature hard-wires women to pick a sperm-spewing ape out of the line-up, and the other three she steers women toward New Age Magazine’s prescription for the New Sensitive Male of the New Millennium. A woman with three legs.
“And in the other, we’re confronted with the unthinking, basic, brute male urge to indulge in pleasure.”
Yep. Basic, self-indulgent, brute sexual pleasure. Certainly not that same Mother Nature directing males to perpetuate the species by sheer numbers, the way it does in, oh, every other plant and animal life form on the planet.
“Whatever. Look, I gotta go. But before I ring off, have you been feeling all right? Last time I saw you, you didn’t look so hot.”
Maybe I’ll look better to you next week. It’s a full moon.