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Friday, February 18, 2005

Like a horse and a carriage?

Today's post deals with a wonderful lady - Mom Nature herself. Like any mother, her intentions are perfectly noble, and whatever she does is (in her eyes) for our own good. Yet she manages to screw up our lives completely. To begin with - her children have serious problems in their marital lives, and a lot of it can be traced right back to her.

Dr. Shirley Glass takes a look at reasons why married couples across the world find their sexual desire waning over time. Among the various reasons she points to - here's the relevant one.

...Unfortunately, some individuals are in relationships where they have never felt "sexual chemistry" for their partner; they don't enjoy looking at their partner, touching them, or kissing them. There are DNA components which are part of the chemistry between two people which may simply be lacking. An unfortunate trick of nature is that we tend to be most attracted to persons whose DNA is most opposite to us. Therefore, we may be attracted to someone who appears very exotic and different but would be a very poor choice because of incompatible backgrounds and interests.

In short, we are programmed to lust after people we are completely and utterly incompatible with!

Further evidence is available. At the University of Bern, a group of men were given plain cotton T-shirts and instructed to wear them for a week and to not use scented at any time during the week. The now-ripe items of clothing were handed to a group of women, who were asked to smell them (I'm thinking they didn't know what they were getting into), and declare which men they found most attractive based on this olfactory evidence alone.

That's right - you guessed it. The women picked those guys who were as far removed from them on the genetic tree as possible. Opposites attract, you see. Go for the exotic, scream our bodies.

So why this twisted bit of programming? Well, you see, Mother dearest realised that the offspring of two parents with very different DNA has a greater chance of survival than the child of two parents with very similar DNA. So not only is incest sick, its likely to produce a sick child too. This is so because it allows genetic diseases to be muscled out of the double-helix by dominant genes from far away (Thats the best I can do - if you want a more detailed explanation, I'll send you my soon-to-be geneticist brother's e-mail). And since attraction is controlled by pheromones, Paramita Bhattacharya's nose is engineered so that she melts when Ricardo Gonzales walks by but gives Abhijit Mukherjee the cold shoulder.

Well, thats well and good, you say. Marriage is an institution thats on its way out anyway, and here's the final helical nail in its coffin. Back to nature's way - free love makes for stronger babies, so spread the love around. Those cavemen really knew where it was AT, dude!

Whoa, there - hold on to your horses. You see, mother had one last little trick to play. The aforementioned study also showed that women who were on the pill pulled a Younis-esque reverse swing. They declared quite firmly that exotic does not equal erotic. Bring on the similarly DNA-ed men instead. Now how did that happen?

Well, its like this. Standard birth-control pills fool the body into believing its pregnant. This leads to the release of a hormone with an unpronouncable name, also called the "cuddling hormone". As you must have guessed, it fiddles with women's scent receptors so that all of a sudden doing the Tango with Roberto doesn't seem like such a good idea and your fifth cousin, twice removed, starts looking strangely... attractive.

Basically, like all mothers, She knows that a woman should marry a man who has much in common with her. And that is TRUE LOVE, unlike lust which was dealt with above. Such a man will make a good father for her child. BUT - if everything went according to plan, he wouldn't get the chance to father her child in the first place. Oooooh - twisted! So the Abhijits of the world were supposed to raise half-Brazilian kids, while some other guy was playing pater familias to the seed of their loins. I'm sorry, but thats just WRONG!

But fear not good-husband-material-type - maybe there's a way out. Slip a pill into her drink when she's not looking, and suddenly she's falling head over heels for you. That should get you through the first phase of marriage. Unless, you want to actually have a child. Because once the bundle of joy arrives, Mr. Right suddenly starts seeming... bland! At this point cut to Dr. Glass.

But I really shouldn't bother. Considering the amount of inbreeding going on, we Bongs are going to drop off the earth very soon. Not before the Gults, though.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Fear not, intrepid fans - I am back after a break (in more ways than one).

I shall take a break from my usual practice of tying this post in with the previous one, as a favour to my dear friend Antara. The background being that I recently explained to her the different stages of relationships, a fact she proceeded to publicise on her blog. The result was a flurry of e-mails asking her to reveal this valuable information (most of the people asking, quite naturally, being men). For fear of misreporting, Antara has passed me the buck and so I shall elucidate.

(i) These definitions are valid only in an American setting. Things are quite, quite different in India - going on a DATE is a BIG DEAL! Not so here.
(ii) My source for this information, as Antara has pointed out, is a woman who I choose not to name. Let me also point out that in spite of being in possession of this information, it seems I was never able to correctly judge exactly which stage my relationship with her was in. So, my facts may be far from accuarate or useful.

Anyway - here are the stages (or so I am told)

1) Dating
First a definition - A date is a situation in which two unrelated single people meet to take part in some (usually harmless) activity in the absence of any third person. Note that the purpose for which they met, their intentions, or even their relationship prior to the date are completely unimportant. You meet a classmate over coffee to discuss the upcoming exam - thats a date. You meet an old friend over dinner after many years - thats a date. You go to a movie and the only other person willing to go with you just happens to be of the opposite sex - thats STILL a date. So everyone has trivially been on a few hundred dates. That DOES NOT count as dat-ING.
Dating, is when you have been on a number of dates with a certain person, and intend to continue.

2) Seeing someone
Here's the tricky bit. Apparently the subtle difference between dating and seeing someone is the issue of exclusivity. You can be dating many people over the same period of time, but you can only be SEEing one of them. That person still does not qualify as a girlfriend/significant other yet, but she has unspecified rights over your time. Usually when you find that you are dating only one person, and are not thinking of dating anyone else - you're seeing her.

3) Going out/Going steady
Right - now we get to the commitment bit. At this point you are in a firmly established relationship with this person. Now she becomes a significant other, and you have the right to introduce her as your girlfriend. At this point, all other dating stops. If you meet a classmate to discuss the upcoming exam - thats NO LONGER a date.

4) Living in
Obvious. Often skipped. So shall we.

5) Marriage
The ultimate stage. By now you are a very very tired man.

?) The breakup
Can happen at any stage. Preferrably early. But if you get to stage 5 then you'll just have to wait for the divorce.

??) The sex
Aha - all important question. Now when is the good part supposed to happen? Actually, its unspecified. Some talk about the third date rule. Don't know anything about that, but yes - its usually a good idea to get it out of the way before stage 4.

There you have it, gentlemen.

And from tomorrow we shall go back to discussing the small, hairless Chinese (not to be confused with the great hairless Mexican, which is a dog).