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Why Men Are From Mars And Women Are From Venus


Throughout the ages both men and women have bemoaned the conspicuous absence of synchronicity between the sexes.  As the old saying goes, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.  The divorce rate at roughly 50% in the western world suggests that life-long monogamy is problematic, as does the spread of dreadful AIDS, as does the popularity of harems in the Middle East.  All is evidently not well with the patient, Human Monogamy.


Romantics, Sean Hannity and some other Republicans deeply wonder why, to their consternation and despair. (Word happily has it, however, that Bill Clinton is losing little sleep over this matter, at least not from insomnia).


This essay will attempt to assess this dire matter from the powerful perspective of natural history. That is, the author believes that one can best understand human reproductive and romantic phenomena with the benefit of how copious other organisms deal with this delicate matter.  Species-snobs will doubtless defiantly respond that we are far too unique and august to possibly benefit from informed comparisons with lowly creatures, but they would be far, far off the mark. The author hopes to entertain and edify in demonstrating the falsity of this rude prejudice.


But first, a quick stop at the Porn Store

Any visit to any porn shop in the world will reveal an array of human sexual practices, with a virtual infinity of iterations sufficient to excite an actuary.  Some male actuaries – who comprise the majority — have been accused of knowing 10N ways to make love, but not knowing any actual women. Actuaries are like accountants with finite social skills but with a massive over-development of the mathematical cranial lobe. Excited actuaries magnify the power of their mighty 10N by lovingly massaging it with mystic mathematical symbols reminiscent of the Mayan Runes mentioned elsewhere.


But one porn shop facet is universal and constant notwithstanding this veritable phalanx of endless iterations.  That constant, as inflexible as the “C” in E=MC2, is that almost all the patrons, at almost all times, are male.  The author’s anecdotal familiarity with these establishments would suggest that easily over 90% of the patrons are male, especially if one correctly defines patronage only by the purchase or rental of movies and appropriately refrains from distorting the analysis. Thus, this requires removing from consideration the purchase of certain vibratory units for which most heterosexual men have little personal use, hopefully.  (Sadly for thrifty feminists, these latter items are only available for purchase, not less costly rental as with the movies).


Darwinian Math (Both New and Traditional) 

The author hastens to assert that heterosexual males are focused on solely due to the unfortunate but technically inevitable reality that the Darwinian Footprint of heteros will inevitably be larger than that of their non-hetero brethren who refrain from sexual reproduction, and which therefore is, well, nonexistent. This lack of progressive balance is an unfortunate function of sheer mathematical bias, and most definitely not from politically incorrect bias, which like Heresy in the Middle Ages must for burning reasons be avoided at all costs, always. (G. Bruno sadly didn’t learn this Immanent lesson until the last day of class, when it was too late [unlike his less truant friend Galileo], when though wide awake he flamed-out during the final exam). This rudely unprogressive asymmetry Darwinian Footprint-wise, is sadly so inevitable and obvious that not even actuaries have been able to figure a way around it.


Individuals of both sexes who progressively practice this alternative reproductive mathematics – which specializes in the happy exponential derivatives of abstract  numbers we learn about in Math Class – are, sadly, only lifetime spectators at Darwin’s Footprint Olympics, at least not without the liberal benefit of test tube experimentation, which does seem to be growing in popularity to the envious chagrin and consternation of the actuaries, who favor more subtle solutions in their amazing formulations.


Quickly, back to the porn shop

So, either this asymmetrical pattern of porn shop patronage is a statistical aberration of sheer brobdingnagian magnitude, or something’s going on here.  This suggests, in fact, a fundamental difference in the make-up between the sexes (and this is not an allusion to shared eye-liner).


The Egg and I

We all know that human females, along with the females of every single species that practices sexual reproduction (most but not quite all of them), produce eggs.  Likewise we all know that human males as well as males of all other species (and here the distinction is arguably sometimes less distinct than in the case of females) produce sperm.


The key thing about eggs and sperm, a virtual Iron Law of Nature, is that the relationship investment-wise between them is the reverse of porn shop patronage, magnified perhaps a million times or more.  That is, if the female’s biological investment in egg production is X bio-units, the sperm’s modest requirement for the corresponding investment is perhaps around .00000000001X. The math may be problematic, but the concept is clear: females of each and every species have to invest vastly more from their limited supply of bio-units to produce an egg than the corresponding bio-unit investment required by sperm.  For each egg that a female produces, the male can, with utter biological profligacy, easily produce millions of sperm.


But before the aggressive feminists become overly agitated by this unfortunate example of Nature’s Neanthdrathalic lack of liberal perspective and equality, I hasten to point out that later in this essay, we will visit how Nature is like Hannibal Lecter and insists on extracting its due quid-pro-quo.


A Conflict of Interest

Elliott Spitzer was a Champion of the Conflict of Interest by prosecuting call girl rings while simultaneously enjoying their services, albeit from different call girl organizations.  (His efforts are illuminative; though in all candor even his finest antics with practitioners of the world’s oldest profession pale in comparison to the all-time record holder, Pope Alexander).


But the good former New York Attorney General’s primary illustrative value for purposes here, is that by virtue of his predilections call girl-wise he indirectly points up another example of a fundamental, more deeply penetrating conflict of interest between men and women.  For the world’s oldest profession, at least with respect to the heterosexual market (the others have limited Darwinian application), is probably also the world’s worst violator of Sexist Affirmative Action inasmuch as the vast majority of its practitioners are women, and the vast majority of the clientele is male.  A more liberal and enlightened market structure, which put less emphasis on biological imperatives and more on political correctness, would have a greater degree of proportionality between the two sexes.


In point of fact, the sex-related conflict of interest that exists between the sexes of each and every species that practices sexual reproduction is even deeper than this market demographic.  For, in order to obtain maximum return on biological investment, and because eggs are so expensive to produce in terms of limited biological resources, females of all species are impelled by nature to guard them dearly, and most definitely not to squander their eggy treasure on any random Tom, Dick and Harry.  Likewise all males of all species have the exact opposite motivation, and this is the usual culprit cited by females of the human variety for the absence of harmony between the sexes in the first place.  But because sperm is so much hugely cheaper to manufacture than eggs, Nature pays most species’ males Darwinian Dividends for being as profligate as possible.


Sperm are so inexpensive to produce that they would still be cheap even if denominated in Zimbabwe dollars, which thanks to Robert Mugabe have lost almost all value.


Some Examples

Here is where we get to have some real fun, with a special thanks to the most excellent and thorough Vitus Droescher.


1. For purposes of war between the sexes, one can scarcely match the humble bedbug. The males have a penis like a scimitar which they plunge into the bodies of their female partners (as many as they can get, of course) without too much effort at orifice-location. The sperm sloshes about in the body of the female, eventually finding its way to the egg. The author is unaware of the mating mortality rate statistics among female bedbugs.  The male bedbug is truly an innovator in the concept of rape.


2. The female black widow spider is famed for her retaliatory gesture. Males who do not swiftly scuttle away once their urges have been satisfied, find themselves consumed. Feminists assert correctly that this is all in the name of motherhood, since the females benefit from the extra dose of male protein kindly (if involuntarily) provided by her mate, in the production of most viable eggs.  The dating anxieties of male black widow spiders may even eclipse those of human teenagers, since they represent a perfect example of approach/avoidance conflict which the Psychology Department studies.  In other species of spiders, the male provides candy to his paramour in the form of a nice fat fly or other insectoidal tidbit in order that she be occupied with consuming something besides him. In certain sneaky species, the distracting gift is more like iron pyrite (fools’ gold for non-geologists) since it’s an empty nothingness nicely wrapped however with spider silk.


3. In certain species of squirrel, mating is a combined event, a squirrelly sexual triathlon as it were, of long-distance sprinting, gymnastics and gang rape. As the moment of consummation approaches, the female squirrel races furiously through the trees, chased by a horde of eager suitors.  The weaker males, becoming exhausted, gradually fall by the wayside.  The female, in due recognition of the Iron Law of Nature, insists that only the strongest males get access to her precious eggs.  As such, she leads the gang at furious speed in a race through the branches, with her as the prize for the most athletic victor(s).


Sadly perhaps for some, this is one event we are unlikely to enjoy this summer in Beijing.


4. The most classic examples are to be found in species that mate with harem structures, like moose, elephant seal, certain fortunate middle-eastern caliphs, bighorn sheep, and countless others.  This may seem like heaven on earth for the harem master, but like membership in the Mafia this is a prize with a definite dark side.  In fact this is nature’s little quid-pro-quo noted earlier.  For the king male has to expend a huge biological investment to achieve his Darwinian Gold Medal, and in order for the privilege of mating with a whole lot of females and getting multiple opportunities to obtain immortality by proxy many times over, must spend himself to unimaginable degree.  And the author does not refer to the mating itself, since even when dealing with feminists that is not the most strenuous part.  Rather, it’s the near-continuous fighting off of competing males who desperately want their own position as Darwinian CEO.


The typical harem master, at least among the moose, etc if not the fortunate caliphs, expires not long after the end of his reign for that mating season.  Since while King they spend virtually all their time and energy either mating or especially fighting off rivals, they generally lead evanescent lives once they begin to bask in the sexual sun.  But, the great Darwinian Imperative is satisfied, for the harem master’s self-indulgent sacrifice assures that only the genes of the strongest of males get passed into the future.


5. With most mammals, this is basically why males are almost always considerably larger than the females, particularly among the harem-style reproducers. The males are bred by nature to fight the other males, which leads to this sexual dimorphism in size.  Of course there are exceptions, of which the Spotted Hyena is an outstanding example.  But with most, the females are smaller than the males since there’s really no Darwinian reward for them to be larger and stronger.  Rather, their Darwinian Imperative is to produce the most viable eggs and especially select only the best of all available male genes to fertilize them, much like a Hedge Fund Manager with inadequate diversification must be extra careful in stock selection.


Monogamy in Nature

There are few if any monogamous invertebrates, and since they constitute by far the vast majority of species, the non-monogamous norm is statistically very, very skewed. But most readers will see little connection between bugs, clams, worms, etc and themselves, notwithstanding the rampant anthropomorphism that riddles Chapter 3.


Among the vertebrates, fish are generally non-monogamous, though there are some progressives nevertheless.  The fishy sexual innovators include trendy sex-change transsexuals such as swordtails, betas and paradise fish, and occasionally self-fertilizing hermaphrodites like the porgy.  The author will refrain from the obvious punning opportunities offered by these sexual fishy luminaries, since he would not wish to master the beta or pound the porgy. (Deep sea Angler fish males are 100% monogamous, however, in that the tiny male permanently attaches itself to the female, effectively turning itself into one of her body parts and reductively morphing over time into little more than a nubbin-like sperm pouch*).


The Surinam Toad, while sadly also non-monogamous, is an excellent father nevertheless and gives live birth to his many offspring via the skin on his back splitting, to let the tadpoles spill out. The female and the male will have previously worked together to position the fertilized eggs on the male’s back, where they are absorbed into the skin to emerge as tadpoles later.


Birds are by far the most monogamous of the vertebrates, with perhaps 20% of avian species enjoying a divorce-free relationship.  Lovebirds, penguins and certain storks are monogamous. With penguins and many if not most other monogamous birds, the dual efforts of both parents are required to successfully raise their young, and hence the reason for the monogamy.  With some storks however, the marriage is more to the actual nest itself, which is large and used year after year, than to the more expendable mate.  With colorful birds of paradise, where the males are adorned in such a gaudy and extravagant feathery fashion as to put a gay-pride parade to shame, there’s no monogamy whatsoever.


With mammals, few indeed are monogamous.  Wolves and other wild dogs purportedly mate for life, but that’s possibly more a function of pack politics, whereby the alpha male and alpha female have an arranged marriage by Darwin.  Gibbons, who like homo sapiens are one of the great apes, might seem monogamous at first glance because their prime social group consists of the nuclear family.  However, gibbons are at best a problematic human role model since in actuality they are enthusiastic practitioners of incest, nature’s serial emulators of Alexander the Overachiever.


One can however cite the Klipspringer as one of the very rare sincerely monogamous mammals.  It’s a smallish antelope that lives exclusively on rocky outcroppings in South Africa called Kopis.  These Kopis are surrounded by the expanse of the African Veldt, and as such are the ecological equivalent of islands.  The Klipspringer’s lifelong monogamy is enforced with a virtual non-promiscuity chastity belt, since neither male nor female can safely venture on the plain, the ecological equivalent of the invisible electric fence which keeps Fido in the yard.  Klipspringer demographic distribution is not conducive to gerrymandering since it’s only one pair, a male and female, per Kopi.



So, the next time a male of the human variety decides to exercise his Darwinian Imperative in an inappropriate fashion, and has to suddenly explain pesky details such

as foreign lipstick on an unseen collar, he might try enlisting the scientific argument that due to conflicting sperm and egg economics, virtually no mammals are monogamous.


But, the author will not be entering into the business of marketing insurance policies which assume liability in the sad event that this strategery is unsuccessful.

June 2008

Note to Essay: The intent of this satirical commentary is to tie certain aspects of Man’s instinctive tendencies with respect to sexual reproductive and related activities, to our mammalian progenitors’ instincts, which our society generally seems to ignore or deny.


(On this topic of our Darwinian ancestry, traditionally Man has been offended by our being “descendants of the monkey.” But, as the “real life” historical versions of the activities illustrated at the end of Chapter 1 of the June, 2008 essays suggest, and especially as deep familiarity with the Holocaust, Inquisition, etc reinforces, it’s really the monkeys who should be most offended).


However, satire aside, Homo Sapiens is actually much like the Antarctic penguins, in that due to our particular niche in life the joint parenting efforts of life-long partners is what, long-term, seems to produce the most viable offspring. Exceedingly rare among mammals, the instincts of male and female Homo Sapiens of respect and love for one’s life partner and especially the instincts of love and supreme devotion to those offspring (which unlike monogamy is not rare among other mammals, and not rare in birds either), is what seems to best enable each reproducing human to achieve his or her Darwinian Gold Medal. Just as the penguin’s chick will almost certainly freeze and/or starve if either one of the parents dies before the chick is sufficiently mature, so too do human offspring seem to thrive best when both male father and female mother are united with each other and their offspring by virtue of the nuclear family.


Even the most rudimentary anthropological survey of Man’s numerous societies throughout the ages and all over the globe reveals this to be the main social building-block in the edifice of Human History.


But in Man, there is also clear behavioral evidence of complicating instincts in both men and women (it does take two) which manifest themselves in myriads of ways. If the reader is curious as to the details, just ask Sir Bill of Butt or Sir Teddy Kennedy the EverReady (sadly gravely ill), for they are experts.  Whether these complicating instincts are beneficial or detrimental to long-term Darwinian success is indeterminate, but it’s completely clear that the divorce attorneys, paparazzi and tabloids benefit greatly.

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