Saturday, October 16, 2004

Mating, Reproduction and Beauty

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  • Saturday morning and the dogs are hyper. I do love my dogs, but man, they are going to get some training before the baby comes. I will not have Zoey jumping on the baby.

    I have had some time recently to think about free will, instinct and choice and I am coming to the conclusion that humans are far more instinct driven than I ever would have guessed. That is saying something because I have accepted for years that we are little more than simians.

    There is this great book out there called What’s Love Got To Do With It?. It is essentially a study of human mating behavior and it is one the most fascinating books I have ever read. The author is and anthropologist (I believe) and she has made a career out of studying human mating. Some of the things she found were just stunning and I know I am going to botch this up because it has been so long since I read that book.

    I remember that she found evidence that when men go out of town, their sperm count rises, and not by an insignificant amount. The same thing happens when men stay in town and their partner goes out of town. In other words, whether or not the men had mating on their minds, no matter how committed they were to relationships, the biology of the male gears up to find another mate the instant opportunity arises.

    Females, it turns out, operate in a very similar manner, biologically speaking. I recall her discussion of the female cycle including the idea that unlike most mammals, female human estrus is fairly hidden. In humans, it is something of a challenge to prove exactly when a child was conceived and this allows women to have multiple partners with less threat to her offspring from any one partner.

    She also argues that monogamy is not a natural state for human beings and we all look to expand the possibilities of transmitting our genes regardless of the “norms” of our social system.

    All of this is very cool and interesting but abstract to me (possibly not too abstract—what did I choose to do in Chicago to kill time at a trade show? I checked out the breasts of the passing women).

    What is very concrete and real to me right now is what has suddenly happened to me regarding my views of babies, children, my wife and just women and men I see with children.

    Two months ago I really did not notice children at all. I mean, the extent to which I noticed them was along the lines of: is the kid away from the street so I can drive safely? Will that damn thing just please shut up? Good god, has she ever heard of birth control?

    That has changed in a way that is so dramatic, the only comparison I can find in my entire life is going from drinking to sobriety overnight.

    Everything is viewed through the lens of parenthood now. I watch how people hold their children. I listen to how they talk to them. Goddess’ sake, I am thinking of my health in terms like: I can’t eat that bacon. That would be fattening and might clog my arteries. I have a child to raise now, so I can’t eat bacon.

    These thoughts and ideas come to me like a tornado. They have the force and imperative of commands in my mind. They supersede other thoughts and ideas. They make me set aside other things that have occupied my mind. I think this is instinct in action, driving me to do what serves the species. It is humbling to realize how little my individual mind, my creative brain with all of its impulses, ideas and drives, actually matters. Really, I could do without my mind right now. I am essentially on autopilot. I do what I am told. I feel what I am told to feel.

    It is an eerie awareness.

    The awareness does not last long. I have to be in a truly introspective mood to be able to actually observe this happening. Otherwise, I am don’t actually see it. It just happens.

    So I am an instinct driven monkey. Odd, that.

    On an unrelated note, talking about women at the trade show, there was one stunningly attractive woman I recall. She was not attractive because of her appearance. She was attractive because she was beautiful inside and it radiated out. Blonde, in her twenties I guess? I never actually got a good look at her face.

    She had only one leg and was on crutches. She was also wearing a knee length skirt. If I feel self-conscious wearing a kilt, I can only imagine the agonies she felt the first time she went out in public with that skirt on. That must take a lot of courage. She looked great though, and I did catch a glimpse of her smile and it looked like she was enjoying life. Goddess bless her and keep her. She made my day. If she can be missing a leg and so fearless, then, Goddess willing, I can be fearless with two legs. If she can enjoy life on life’s terms, then, Goddess willing, so can I.

    Like I said, she was stunningly attractive.

    Good Morning Goddess Brigit, my name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc of 2001 and that is by Your grace and Your grace alone. I would like to take this moment to thank You, my Higher Power, for this, my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be sober.

    Please be with me today, all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine, be done. Thank You. Blessed Be.