Sep 19, 2006

Our Genes Guide Us to Pick the Best Mate

This note came in from a good writer girlfriend:

If a woman can't be trusted to pick her own husband, then should she really be trusted with other adult responsibilities...like raising children?

I'm boiling. I just saw a news story on Anderson Cooper 360 (on CNN) about a family in which the father picked the husbands for all four of his daughters. (This story is part of a series the show is doing all week on love, sex and marriage.) This is a Caucasian American family in Texas, born-again Christians. The father started interviewing prospective husbands when each of his daughters was 18 and all were married by 20. They didn't start dating until he gave his say-so, and even then they dated the man HE had already chosen to be their husbands. No say whatsoever. No kissing (or handholding) until their wedding day, after they've been pronounced husband and wife.

This is all done under the name "courtship."

This makes me sick. A century (just about) after we got the right to vote and after the idea of the ERA was first introduced (1923), 30 years after women burned bras in protest of pay gaps and everything else...and this shit is going on?

I want to send a short succinct e-mail about this story through the show's Instant Feedback page. (Each night, Cooper picks viewer e-mails and reads them on the air.) I'm thinking of the sentence I put at the beginning of the e-mail...unless we find something better.

This burns me up.

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My Reply:

The ability to raise a child is UNRELATED to the effectiveness one has in selecting a potential husband (judged by whom, anyway?). (Raising a child skills kick in after one has a child, and may or may not be apparent before). If someone ELSE were to select our mate, then they would be dissing all of the brilliantly effective natural mechanisms that our biology has built into us—through 100s of 1000s of years of evolution—that we are naturally attracted to and have a tendency to choose the best mate—not for our particular personality—but who will make the best GENETIC MATCH-UP for us.

Worst thing you can do is mix up two unattracted partners. Chances are it’ll be a genetic nightmare. Our best mates smell better, feel better, taste better—the works—all for a very good reason. That reason is that we will—or at least have the potential to—make a damn good, healthy offspring with them. And—to keep the relationship alive—there has to be a strong underlying sexual bond—which is the glue that keeps couples together. And which some other person selecting a mate for us, is, b’gosh, circumventing and making highly unlikely to happen. That idiotic macho father is pretty much guaranteeing the cursing of his next generation.

This is, of course, in addition to the translucently ridiculous injustice of the CONTROL FREAK father’s rationale. Who does he think he is? That born-again Christian is mocking God by playing God.

Tumerica


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