Thursday, August 27, 2015

Men and Women Are Different

Yesterday was the 95th anniversary of the day American women got the right to vote.  Certainly that was and is a good idea, but relations between the sexes remain fraught.

Simply put, women and men are different.  Several recent news articles reinforce this fact.  

"Tinder and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse,'"
                                                                                    by Nancy Jo Sales 
                                                                                                 Vanity Fair
                                                                                       September 2015 

The writer interviewed millennial women and men on the new trend of hooking up after meeting -- well, exchanging pictures and emojis  if not names or biographies -- on "dating" apps like Tinder, Hinging, Happening or OKCupid. 

Some vignettes:

In a bar in New York's East Village:

        -- The tables are filled with young women and men drinking sake and beer and intermittently checking their phones and swiping. "Agh, look at this," says Kelly, 26, who’s sitting at a table with friends, holding up a message she received from a guy on OkCupid. "I want to have you on all fours," it says, going on to propose a graphic sexual scene. 'I’ve never met this person,' says Kelly.

        -- I hooked up with three girls, thanks to the Internet, off of Tinder, in the course of four nights, and I spent a total of $80 on all three girls,” Nick relays proudly. He goes on to describe each date, one of which he says began with the young woman asking him on Tinder to “ ‘come over and smoke [weed] and watch a movie.’ I know what that means,” he says, grinning.
        “We talk for a total of maybe 10 to 15 minutes,” he says. “We hook up. Afterwards she goes, ‘Oh my God, I swear I wasn’t gonna have sex with you.’ And I was like, Well, you did a pretty shitty job of that one.”
        “They all say that,” the guys say, chuckling.

      -- I ask if they’re aware of the double standard that’s often applied to women when it comes to sex. “The double standard is real,” Nick says. “If I’m a guy and I’m going out and fucking a different girl every night, my friends are gonna give me high-fives and we’re gonna crack a beer and talk about it. Girls do the same, but they get judged. I don’t want it to be like that, but sometimes the world is the way it is and I can’t change it, so I just embrace it.”
     They all say they don’t want to be in relationships. “I don’t want one,” says Nick. “I don’t want to have to deal with all that—stuff.”
     “You can’t be selfish in a relationship,” Brian says. “It feels good just to do what I want.

      -- Men talk about the nudes they receive from women. They show off the nudes. “Tit pics and booty pics,” said Austin, 22, a college student in Indiana. “My phone is full of ‘em.”
     And what about unsolicited dick pics? “They want to see your dick,” insists Adam, 23, a male model in New York. “They get excited from it. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, you’re huge.’ ”
     No woman I talked to said she had ever asked for one. And yet, “If you’re a girl who’s trying to date, it’s normal to get dick pics all the time,” said Olivia, 24, a Brandeis graduate. “It’s like we have dicks flying at us.”

"Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site," 
                                                                                                            by Annalee Newitz 
                                                                                                                August 26, 2015

Ashley Madison is another hookup website for people who are married or in committed relationships but do not want to quit, well, dating.  I learned about it for the first time late last year in a conversation, over wine, with a woman whose ex-husband had paid for his membership with their joint credit card.

A couple weeks ago the website was hacked by a group called Impact Team, which released boatloads of data, making for much embarrassment and many gotcha news reports.

The most interesting thing:  Even though membership is free for women, very few women sign up.  In addition, the hackers suggested that thousands of women's signups were bogus, apparently made up by Ashley Madison's operators.  

Newitz, named above, did a deep dive into the data and concluded that that Ashley Madison was more about men's fantasies than action and that women weren't particularly interested. Her conclusions:

     -- The number of people who checked their Ashley Madison messages, by sex:
                        Men         20,269,675
                        Women             1,492

     -- The number who used the site's chat system, by sex:
                        Men          11,030,920
                        Women              2,409

"Overall," the article concludes, "the picture is grim indeed.  Out of 5.5 million female contacts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created."

"Ernie Loves Julia. And Layla.  And Tuti. and Kumi and Suki"
                                                                                             by Michael Winerip 
                                                                                             New York Times
                                                                                             August 27, 2015

Inspired perhaps by the baby pandas' arrival a few days ago in Washington, D.C, a New York reporter visited a gorilla and his troop at the Bronx Zoo.  He talked with Patrick Thomas, who runs the zoo, and with Carl Safina, author of a recent book called "Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel."

The silverback gorilla under discussion, Ernie, has five mates who have given him four offspring in the last 18 months.

The reporter inquired whether Ernie loved all his mates.  "Or is he only in it for the sex?"

He got two answers:

The zoo director said, "I personally wouldn't use the word 'love' to describe the relationship."

Author Safina disagreed:  "We have the same brain chemicals that create mood and motivation in all vertebrates.  The only logical conclusion is that their experience is similar."

And while Ernie is not monogamous, he was described as a pretty good guy who tended to his children as well as his mates, who might leave him if they were unhappy. 

In fact, according to the Safina, "Lions and elephants make gorillas look like family men."

A quote:

"Of course there are plenty of men who behave like elephants.  'There's sex without bonding in humans and other animals," . . . . "Is there any romance in a one-night stand?  Well yes, some, but it's not very high quality, very deep or long-lasting.'"


The last article digresses into a discussion of wolves.  A male wolf seeks a specific mate and bonds with her.  The two raise their young together and, according to author Safina, "appear to have relationships more durable than humans who have divorce." 

Perhaps we should rethink the term "wolf" as it is now used to describe human men. 

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