Pondering the sweet mysteries of lifeby Listener Archive
The holidays are a good time to ruminate on some of the big questions.
This year while you’re on holiday and run out of things to read, try something new. Think. Ponder the many unanswered mysteries of life. Every summer, when I have little or no real work to do, I stave off boredom by ruminating on some of the big questions, such as why men have more body hair than women. Okay, I’ll exempt a maiden aunt or two from that generality, but most women are less hairy than I am, not because they shave or wax – although I’m sure they do – but they are born with fewer parts of their body liable to generate undergrowth, and when it does sprout, it’s generally sparser.
Why do I have hair on my face, for example, when women mostly have none? For that matter, why do I shave it off? Do I want to do a gender bender and look like a woman? Doubt it, and besides, I’d definitely be a very homely looking girl. There’s a theory that we have body hair to keep us warm, but if that’s the case, why do I, as a man, need a warmer face than my wife? If warmth is the reason for it, why do we not have hair in other parts that might need to keep out the cold? A bald bum or naked feet can get quite nippy, you know. And what was nature thinking when it invented pubic hair? What a silly place to put it. Besides, that region is quite warm enough, thank you. I know there are theories that pubic hair can radiate a randy scent to encourage sex, but frankly I find that a bit offputting.
Another suggestion is that it prevents chafing during sex, but there is no evidence the population of Brazil is tenderly wandering about itching and scratching after nights of hairless conjugal bliss. While we’re on the subject of sex, why do surveys always report that men have had more sexual partners than women? How can that be? It takes two to tango, so for every bloke who’s having heterosexual sex, there has to be a woman involved. Even if one woman is racking up more blokes than the rest, the overall average number of female bonks would have to match the male figures, surely?
Actually, Google ruins some of this ruminating. Perplexed by that last question, I leapt onto the computer and found the obvious answer. The Journal of Sex Research – yes, there is such a thing – reports that if participants in such studies are tricked into believing they’re hooked up to a lie-detector machine, men report exactly the same number of sexual partners that woman do. So, basically, it proves the startling revelation that men lie about their sexual conquests. A helpful Google search or two can settle many arguments.
After a recent ribald debate with friends about the veracity of the age-old maxim that “men with big feet also have big …”, I dived online and discovered a 2002 study done at London’s St Mary’s Hospital that compared 104 men’s foot size with their pecker length. There was no correlation. This got me wondering, how on earth would you convince 104 blokes to let you measure their appendage, let alone their feet? What would you say? “I hate to bother you, but can you help me answer an age-old question and let me measure your old fella?” Maybe they’d try a subtle approach: measure the feet first, then pretend to slip with the ruler as they passed the groin region. “Oops, sorry. My, my, you’re a size 12, all right!”
Besides, the research must be somewhat flawed by the practical considerations of the methodology used. What if it was a cold day or the hospital was drafty? Actually, seeing the way this discussion has gone, one good summertime ponder would be, why do all these contemplations end up dwelling on sex?
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