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Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?

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  • lynnoc@aol.com
    Helen: I have followed your work for a long time, and couldn t agree more with what you have been writing. I have an unrelated question about mate choice/mate
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 28, 2004
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      Helen:

      I have followed your work for a long time, and couldn't agree more with what you have been writing. I have an unrelated question about mate choice/mate selection, and I suppose this is a question for evolutionary psychologists in general, but as you are an expert in romantic love, I'll pose it to you for starters. As we know in our species, people fall in love over and over (serial monogamy) and even falling in love in our older years is not uncommon. Falling in love at age 70 has all the attributes you describe for young love, although it is obvious procreation is not going to be an end product. When David Buss first did his cross-cultural research, I found myself in discussions, wondering what would happen if we sampled older people about what they were seeking in mates. Given the high divorce rate in our society, and given the many societies that routinely have men and women changing partners at various ages, I have wondered if the attributes considered attractive might not change, were Buss to repeat his study with his subjects being people aged 40 or 45 and over. I know there is a theory that men still want young women, but I am not so sure this is always the case. Given that we now know that men who are older are more likely to produce children with disabilities, it would seem to me that there would be some implicit knowledge of this and it would affect mate selection, both on the part of men, and on the part of women, and what both sexes find "attractive" might differ, according to their ages.

      A second question is one of long interest to me, that is privacy and sex in homo sapiens.  This renewed interest has been triggered by one of my doctoral students, Dan Quinn, who is planning a study for his dissertation on "How do longer-term couples approach one another when they want to have sex?" This question led us to a rather long seminar discussion of privacy and sex in our species, and its origins. Dan Quinn asked if I would ask the experts on this list for leads to an answer to the question of privacy and that seemed like a great idea. Do all or most homo sapiens that we know of have sex in private? Or do all or most homo sapiens prefer to have sex in private, if it is possible? If so, does anyone know why?  What are good sources to read about this? Does anyone happen to know the source of this cultural tradition (if that is what it is; perhaps it is something more biological?)? Are there any other species in which this is the tradition? 

      Helen, I thought I would begin these questions with you as this is your field, hoping you and then others might have some answers.

      Lynn


      Lynn E. O'Connor, Ph.D.
      Professor
      Emotion, Personality and Altruism Research Group
      The Wright Institute
      2728 Durant Avenue
      Berkeley CA 94704
      phone: (510) 841-9230, ext. 127
      (415) 821-4760
      email: LynnOC@...


      In a message dated 9/28/04 2:19:45 PM, HelenFisher@... writes:


      Hello Andy, romantic love has a constellation of specific traits, including
      focussed attention on a particular conspecific, ability to overlook the
      beloved's flaws, heightened energy, elation, mood swings, craving when apart
      and many others. And these traits are seen in the literature of peoples
      around the world. The oldest love poems come from Summeria 4,000 years ago.
      Andy, regarding your point that romantic love emerged with the troubadors:

      Evidence of romantic love has been found in over 150 societies, from the
      ancient Aztecs to 10th century Japanese, 9th century Chinese, American
      indicans and many more. Everywhere in the world people sing love songs,
      have love poems, commit love magic, have myths and legends about love, and
      some commit suicide or homicide due to unrequited love. I and my
      colleagues have found some of the specific neural networks associated with
      this emotion/motivation system, using fMR neuroimaging of the brain. Other
      animals all have mate preferences (from which human romantic love probably
      evolved), and these mate prferences are associated with the same neural
      system that we found in humans. It just isn't possible that this is a
      construction of the Troubadors.

      I think it is a drive because it has many characteristics of a drive. Like
      drives, romantic attraction is tenacious; while emotions come and go; you
      can be happy in the morning and angry in the afternoon. Like drives,
      romantic love is focussed on a specific reward, the beloved, in the same way
      that hunger is focussed on food. Emotions, such as disgust, pin themselves
      instead to an immense variety of objects and ideas. Like drives, romantic
      love is not associated with any particular facial expression; all of the
      primary emotions (such as anger, fear, joy, surprise and disgust) have
      stereotypic facial poses. Like drives, romantic love is exceedingly
      difficult to control. It is harder to curb thirst, for example, than it is
      to control anger. And like all of the basic drives, romantic love is
      associated with the elevated activity of central dopamine.
      Drives lie along a continuum. Some, like thirst and the need for
      warmth, cannot be extinguished until satisfied. The sex drive, hunger, and
      the maternal instinct can often be redirected, even quelled. Falling in
      love is evidently stronger than the sex drive because when one
      s sexual
      advances are rejected, people do not tend to kill themselves or someone
      else. Rejected lovers, on the contrary, sometimes commit suicide or
      homicide. Romantic love exhibits all of the primary traits associated with
      drives.

      So it seems to be a basic drive to win a preferred mating partner, then the
      brain tacks on various emotions as one succeeds and fails, and all the while
      the prefrontal cortex is monitoring one's progress toward winning one of
      life's greatest prizes: a suitable mating partner.

      No, the Troubadours did not invent this striking brain system, one of the
      most powerful of the human animal--with a crucial function: to enable our
      forebears to focus their courtship energy on prefered mating partners,
      thereby conserving precious mating time and energy. Helen.





      > Given that people learn how to handle and give meaning to their emotions,
      > I'm leery of claims that 'romantic love' has anything to do with drives,
      > motives, etc in any evolutionary sense. It is more a discursive
      > configuration elaborated from the troubadors in the 12th century
      > 'pre-renaissance' literature and poetry of occidental cultures that
      > reconfigures the sense those cultures bring to its members emotional
      > activities and conduct.
      >
      > Andy
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >

      --
      Dr. Helen Fisher, Research Professor
      Dept. Anthropology, Rutgers U.
      Office: 4 East 70th Street
      New York City, NY 10021
      Tel: (212) 744-9870
      E-mail: HelenFisher@...
      Website: http://www.HelenFisher.com








    • Schmitt, David
      In regard to Lynn s recent queries, I thought I d jump in with a little bit of feedback: Query 1: Do older men and women display the same mate preferences
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 28, 2004
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        In regard to Lynn's recent queries, I thought I'd jump in with a little bit of feedback:

        Query 1: Do older men and women display the same mate preferences (e.g., Buss' cross-cultural findings on age preferences) as do younger samples?

        Tentative Answer: Yes, by and large. Other studies of mate preferences, personal ads, sexual fantasies, and even mate preference studies that use national probability samples (Sprecher et al., 1994) have replicated Buss' findings among older and more diverse samples (see Buunk et al., 2001, on age preferences across middle-aged adults). Actual marital patterns also largely confirm the sex differences Buss found in his cross-cultural data (Kenrick & Keefe, 1992).

        See:

        Buunk, D.P., Dijkstra, P., & Kenrick, D.T. (2001). Age preferences for mates as related to gender, own age, and involvement level. Evolution and Human Behavior, 22, 241-250.

        Kenrick, D.T., & Keefe, R.C. (1992). Age preferences in mates reflect sex differences in human reproductive strategies. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 15, 75-133.

        Sprecher, S., Sullivan, Q., & Hatfield, E. (1994). Mate selection preferences: Gender differences examined in a national sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 1074-1080.

        Here is the abstract from Buunk et al. (2001):

        Abstract: Compared males' and females' desired ages for mates. 70 males and 67 females (aged 19-21, 29-31, 39-41, 49-51, and 59-61 yrs) completed questionnaires concerning optimal partner ages in relation to the 5 relationship involvement levels of marriage, serious relationship, falling in love, casual sex, and sexual fantasies. Results show that females preferred partners of their own age, regardless of their own age and regardless of the level of relationship involvement. In contrast, males, regardless of their own age, desired mates for short-term mating and for sexual fantasies who were in their reproductive years. However, for long-term mates, males preferred mates who, although younger than them, were sometimes above the age of maximum fertility.




        Query 2: Do most homo sapiens have sex in private?

        Tentative Answer: Based on the HRAF, in only about 6% of societies do husbands and wives sleep alone or with infants only (Broude & Greene, 1983), indicating that if sex occurs in the context of sleep time it is not very private. As to having sex outside of this context, I do not have access to hard numbers. My guess is that it is rather variable, and highly related to the degree of sexual permissiveness of a culture (including matrilineal and matrilocal factors, see Frayser, 1985).


        See:



        Broude, G.J., & Greene, S.J. (1976). Cross-cultural codes on twenty sexual attitudes and practices. Ethnology, 15, 409-403.



        Broude, G.J., & Greene, S.J. (1983). Cross-cultural codes on husband-wife relationships. Ethnology, 22, 263-280.



        Frayser, S.G. (1985). Varieties of sexual experience: An anthropological perspective on human sexuality. New Haven, CT: HRAF Press.


        One more point on age preferences among older people,

        I just re-reviewed Kenrick et al.'s (1995) article on personal ads of heterosexual and homosexual men and women, and it turns out that lesbians over 40 do prefer somewhat younger partners (a couple of years younger on average), but heterosexual women prefer men who are about 5 years older regardless of whether they are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or over 50.

        See:

        Kenrick, D.T., et al. (1995). Age preferences and mate choice among homosexuals and heterosexuals: A case for modular psychological mechanisms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 1166-1172.

        My best,


        Dave S.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: lynnoc@... [mailto:lynnoc@...]
        Sent: Tue 9/28/2004 6:43 PM
        To: HelenFisher@...; a.j.lock@...; evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: dan@...
        Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?


        Helen:

        I have followed your work for a long time, and couldn't agree more with what you have been writing. I have an unrelated question about mate choice/mate selection, and I suppose this is a question for evolutionary psychologists in general, but as you are an expert in romantic love, I'll pose it to you for starters. As we know in our species, people fall in love over and over (serial monogamy) and even falling in love in our older years is not uncommon. Falling in love at age 70 has all the attributes you describe for young love, although it is obvious procreation is not going to be an end product. When David Buss first did his cross-cultural research, I found myself in discussions, wondering what would happen if we sampled older people about what they were seeking in mates. Given the high divorce rate in our society, and given the many societies that routinely have men and women changing partners at various ages, I have wondered if the attributes considered attractive might not change, were Buss to repeat his study with his subjects being people aged 40 or 45 and over. I know there is a theory that men still want young women, but I am not so sure this is always the case. Given that we now know that men who are older are more likely to produce children with disabilities, it would seem to me that there would be some implicit knowledge of this and it would affect mate selection, both on the part of men, and on the part of women, and what both sexes find "attractive" might differ, according to their ages.

        A second question is one of long interest to me, that is privacy and sex in homo sapiens. This renewed interest has been triggered by one of my doctoral students, Dan Quinn, who is planning a study for his dissertation on "How do longer-term couples approach one another when they want to have sex?" This question led us to a rather long seminar discussion of privacy and sex in our species, and its origins. Dan Quinn asked if I would ask the experts on this list for leads to an answer to the question of privacy and that seemed like a great idea. Do all or most homo sapiens that we know of have sex in private? Or do all or most homo sapiens prefer to have sex in private, if it is possible? If so, does anyone know why? What are good sources to read about this? Does anyone happen to know the source of this cultural tradition (if that is what it is; perhaps it is something more biological?)? Are there any other species in which this is the tradition?

        Helen, I thought I would begin these questions with you as this is your field, hoping you and then others might have some answers.

        Lynn


        Lynn E. O'Connor, Ph.D.
        Professor
        Emotion, Personality and Altruism Research Group
        The Wright Institute
        2728 Durant Avenue
        Berkeley CA 94704
        phone: (510) 841-9230, ext. 127
        (415) 821-4760
        email: LynnOC@...

        In a message dated 9/28/04 2:19:45 PM, HelenFisher@... writes:




        Hello Andy, romantic love has a constellation of specific traits, including
        focussed attention on a particular conspecific, ability to overlook the
        beloved's flaws, heightened energy, elation, mood swings, craving when apart
        and many others. And these traits are seen in the literature of peoples
        around the world. The oldest love poems come from Summeria 4,000 years ago.
        Andy, regarding your point that romantic love emerged with the troubadors:

        Evidence of romantic love has been found in over 150 societies, from the
        ancient Aztecs to 10th century Japanese, 9th century Chinese, American
        indicans and many more. Everywhere in the world people sing love songs,
        have love poems, commit love magic, have myths and legends about love, and
        some commit suicide or homicide due to unrequited love. I and my
        colleagues have found some of the specific neural networks associated with
        this emotion/motivation system, using fMR neuroimaging of the brain. Other
        animals all have mate preferences (from which human romantic love probably
        evolved), and these mate prferences are associated with the same neural
        system that we found in humans. It just isn't possible that this is a
        construction of the Troubadors.

        I think it is a drive because it has many characteristics of a drive. Like
        drives, romantic attraction is tenacious; while emotions come and go; you
        can be happy in the morning and angry in the afternoon. Like drives,
        romantic love is focussed on a specific reward, the beloved, in the same way
        that hunger is focussed on food. Emotions, such as disgust, pin themselves
        instead to an immense variety of objects and ideas. Like drives, romantic
        love is not associated with any particular facial expression; all of the
        primary emotions (such as anger, fear, joy, surprise and disgust) have
        stereotypic facial poses. Like drives, romantic love is exceedingly
        difficult to control. It is harder to curb thirst, for example, than it is
        to control anger. And like all of the basic drives, romantic love is
        associated with the elevated activity of central dopamine.
        Drives lie along a continuum. Some, like thirst and the need for
        warmth, cannot be extinguished until satisfied. The sex drive, hunger, and
        the maternal instinct can often be redirected, even quelled. Falling in
        love is evidently stronger than the sex drive because when one〓s sexual
        advances are rejected, people do not tend to kill themselves or someone
        else. Rejected lovers, on the contrary, sometimes commit suicide or
        homicide. Romantic love exhibits all of the primary traits associated with
        drives.

        So it seems to be a basic drive to win a preferred mating partner, then the
        brain tacks on various emotions as one succeeds and fails, and all the while
        the prefrontal cortex is monitoring one's progress toward winning one of
        life's greatest prizes: a suitable mating partner.

        No, the Troubadours did not invent this striking brain system, one of the
        most powerful of the human animal--with a crucial function: to enable our
        forebears to focus their courtship energy on prefered mating partners,
        thereby conserving precious mating time and energy. Helen.





        > Given that people learn how to handle and give meaning to their emotions,
        > I'm leery of claims that 'romantic love' has anything to do with drives,
        > motives, etc in any evolutionary sense. It is more a discursive
        > configuration elaborated from the troubadors in the 12th century
        > 'pre-renaissance' literature and poetry of occidental cultures that
        > reconfigures the sense those cultures bring to its members emotional
        > activities and conduct.
        >
        > Andy
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

        --
        Dr. Helen Fisher, Research Professor
        Dept. Anthropology, Rutgers U.
        Office: 4 East 70th Street
        New York City, NY 10021
        Tel: (212) 744-9870
        E-mail: HelenFisher@...
        Website: http://www.HelenFisher.com












        _____

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      • Paul Okami
        In thinking about older men s mate preferences there is often a confusion in people s thinking between sexual desire and desire for a partner (e.g., marriage).
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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          In thinking about older men's mate preferences there is often a confusion in
          people's thinking between sexual desire and desire for a partner (e.g.,
          marriage).
          A fifty-five year old man might well wish to marry a woman closer to his age
          because there are many functions of marriage in the contemporary world that
          were not in effect in the world of our ancestors. Companionship and
          intimacy are extremely important, and some people find that difficult to
          achieve in a partner from a different generation.

          However, you note that virtually all pornography and other sorts of female
          displays in magazines geared to men feature women between the ages of 18-24
          approximately. Men of all ages consume this material--there are no special
          issues of Penthouse published for men over fifty featuring naked women over
          age 50.

          In men, sexual desire and desire for a partner to share one's life are often
          radically at odds. I've noticed that this is something many women find
          difficult to fathom, because women more often then men find their sexual
          desires and desires for a partner concordant.

          Paul Okami



          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Schmitt, David" <dps@...>
          To: <lynnoc@...>; <HelenFisher@...>;
          <a.j.lock@...>; <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
          Cc: <dan@...>
          Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 10:28 PM
          Subject: RE: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?


          > In regard to Lynn's recent queries, I thought I'd jump in with a little
          bit of feedback:
          >
          <Snip>
        • lynnoc@aol.com
          Paul: Your response greatly interests me, as did Dave s. I had assumed that men would select younger women, but what I wondered was if the list of preferred
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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            Paul:

            Your response greatly interests me, as did Dave's. I had assumed that men would select "younger" women, but what I wondered was if the list of preferred attributes might differ for older men and for older women. From looking at the titles of the references Dave sent however, I had the impression that even in attributes, things remain rather the same. I have been thinking about it ever since the email arrived, puzzled that women who are older would say they would prefer a man who is older, when everyone knows that men get sick and die earlier, statistically, than do women, and so it doesn't quite make sense for older women to select mates who are older men. Also in our culture, men tend to lose ranking as they age, and I have seen some very alpha males get treated "like a woman" simply because of their age. So I wondered why this pattern of preference holds.

            This somewhat began with the topic of falling in love, and I know of much older couples who have fallen in love (in one the man was 85 and the woman was 88 and it was a really beautiful romance, which appeared to have many of the qualities that Helen described, and that we are all familiar with --and it was quite a tragedy when the man had a stroke at 89, but then the couple had had this extraordinary late life romance). If we asked men and women what are the attributes of a man/woman they think they could fall in love with (not who they would like to have an affair with) I wonder how that would differ from the question posed as what are the attributes of a man/woman they would like to marry. Guess I am asking if these questions about mate selection and preferences have been asked in terms of "falling in love," marriage," or "having an affair" and if anyone thinks that after the ages of procreation it makes a difference in how the questions are posed?

            It may be rather like the "privacy and sex" question which Dave's answer really said it all --if we are so isolated in our manner of living (not lots of people living in a small space, or more than parents and infant sleeping in one bed, etc-- then the companionship of a mate in older years becomes far more important, than in some other cultures in which privacy is more or less unheard of.  Perhaps this may be a place where we might be able to see gene-culture coevolution at work.

            Lynn



            Lynn E. O'Connor, Ph.D.
            Professor
            Emotion, Personality and Altruism Research Group
            The Wright Institute
            2728 Durant Avenue
            Berkeley CA 94704
            phone: (510) 841-9230, ext. 127
                 (415) 821-4760
            email: LynnOC@...

            In a message dated 9/29/04 8:35:51 AM, kozure.okami@... writes:


            In thinking about older men's mate preferences there is often a confusion in
            people's thinking between sexual desire and desire for a partner (e.g.,
            marriage).
            A fifty-five year old man might well wish to marry a woman closer to his age
            because there are many functions of marriage in the contemporary world that
            were not in effect in the world of our ancestors.  Companionship and
            intimacy are extremely important, and some people find that difficult to
            achieve in a partner from a different generation.

            However, you note that virtually all pornography and other sorts of female
            displays in magazines geared to men feature women between the ages of 18-24
            approximately.  Men of all ages consume this material--there are no special
            issues of Penthouse published for men over fifty featuring naked women over
            age 50.

            In men, sexual desire and desire for a partner to share one's life are often
            radically at odds.  I've noticed that this is something many women find
            difficult to fathom, because women more often then men find their sexual
            desires and desires for a partner concordant.

            Paul Okami



            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Schmitt, David" <dps@...>
            To: <lynnoc@...>; <HelenFisher@...>;
            <a.j.lock@...>; <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
            Cc: <dan@...>
            Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 10:28 PM
            Subject: RE: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?







          • Paul Okami
            ... From: LynnOC@aol.com To: kozure.okami@comcast.net ; HelenFisher@HelenFisher.com ; a.j.lock@massey.ac.nz ; evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com ;
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
               
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 12:19 PM
              Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?
              [snip] I have been thinking about it ever since the email arrived, puzzled that women who are older would say they would prefer a man who is older, when everyone knows that men get sick and die earlier, statistically, than do women, and so it doesn't quite make sense for older women to select mates who are older men.
               
                  It does indeed make sense if the mechanisms that cause women to prefer somewhat older men increased women's reproductive success among our ancestors during their fertile years.  If these mechanisms continue to remain on board later,  as a by-product of the adaptation, natural selection woulod not have "cared," because after the reproductive years, it is not "important to natural selection" that the woman's body survives.  Survival is only "important to natural selection" because it allows reproduction to occur.  Natural selection selects entities that endure (genes) not entities that die (bodies).
               
              Also in our culture, men tend to lose ranking as they age, and I have seen some very alpha males get treated "like a woman" simply because of their age. So I wondered why this pattern of preference holds.
              Mate preferences are acquired early in life (late childhood-early adolescence), and are related to reproduction.  Men's preferences don't change if they become infertile or impotent as they age, why should women's change because they age?


              This somewhat began with the topic of falling in love, and I know of much older couples who have fallen in love (in one the man was 85 and the woman was 88 and it was a really beautiful romance, which appeared to have many of the qualities that Helen described, and that we are all familiar with --and it was quite a tragedy when the man had a stroke at 89, but then the couple had had this extraordinary late life romance). If we asked men and women what are the attributes of a man/woman they think they could fall in love with (not who they would like to have an affair with) I wonder how that would differ from the question posed as what are the attributes of a man/woman they would like to marry. Guess I am asking if these questions about mate selection and preferences have been asked in terms of "falling in love," marriage," or "having an affair" and if anyone thinks that after the ages of procreation it makes a difference in how the questions are posed?
              I am fairly sure that some research has tried to separate out questions of sexual attraction from other forms of attraction and preference, but I don't have references off the top of my head.
              I myself have been married three times--once at age 20, once at age 40, and once at age 49.  All three times my bride was between the ages of 20-25.   My desire was to find a woman in her early twenties with the soul and intellect of a baby-boomer :-) 
               
              Paul
            • David Smith
              A character need only be fitness-enhancing enough of the time in order to be selected into an organism s behavioral repertoire. In this case, all that matters
              Message 6 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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                A character need only be fitness-enhancing enough of the time in order to be selected into an organism's behavioral repertoire.  In this case, all that matters biologically is whether a preference for older men enhances the reproductive success of younger women, i.e. women of reproductive age.
                 
                Cheers,
                David 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 12:19 PM
                Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?

                Paul:

                Your response greatly interests me,


              • Jay R. Feierman
                Paul et al., There also appears to be a generation-separating phenomenon, at least in the western, industrialized democracies, which keeps older men from
                Message 7 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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                  Paul et al.,

                  There also appears to be a generation-separating phenomenon, at least in the
                  western, industrialized democracies, which keeps older men from forming much
                  more than brief, sexual liaisons with much younger women. Each ten or so
                  years adolescents have major changes in pop culture. They have new dress
                  fads (low cut jeans, bare midriffs, etc.) and adornments (tattoos and
                  piercings) as well as their own styles of music (hip hop, rap, etc.). There
                  are even new word meanings. I remember when my teenage son told me that
                  "bad" meant "good!" He never hear of someone being "square," which was a
                  word of my generation.

                  Since newborns are not born in lots or cohorts every 10-or-so years, there
                  must be some factor or factors that generate these periodic, 10-or-so year
                  changes in the pop culture. As a result of this phenomenon, it is difficulty
                  for an older man to have much in common with a young girl. I don't know if
                  other such generation-separating phenomena exists in simple, tribal
                  societies. It's not something anyone could observe during a short
                  observation period of even a few years.

                  Do these periodic changes in the pop culture, which separate older men from
                  younger girls, occur through a passive process, similar to the 4-year
                  extinction of romantic attraction? Or, are they are caused by some active
                  process? If it is an active or passive process, what is that process? Is it
                  a DNA-coded adaptation, a by-product of selection or a societally-devised,
                  culturally-transmitted phenomenon? Whatever causes it and transmits it
                  across and within generations, it allows (either directly or indirectly)
                  high status, older men to live within an unnatural mating system (for them),
                  monogamy. Said another way, the periodic changes in the pop culture, either
                  directly or indirectly, help older, high status men to live monogamously
                  with a mildly polygamous brain. I'd be interested in comments from others on
                  the list.

                  Regards,
                  Jay R. Feierman


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                  To: <lynnoc@...>; <HelenFisher@...>;
                  <a.j.lock@...>; <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>;
                  "Schmitt, David" <dps@...>
                  Cc: <dan@...>
                  Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 9:35 AM
                  Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?


                  > In thinking about older men's mate preferences there is often a confusion
                  > in
                  > people's thinking between sexual desire and desire for a partner (e.g.,
                  > marriage).
                  > A fifty-five year old man might well wish to marry a woman closer to his
                  > age
                  > because there are many functions of marriage in the contemporary world
                  > that
                  > were not in effect in the world of our ancestors. Companionship and
                  > intimacy are extremely important, and some people find that difficult to
                  > achieve in a partner from a different generation.
                  >
                  > However, you note that virtually all pornography and other sorts of female
                  > displays in magazines geared to men feature women between the ages of
                  > 18-24
                  > approximately. Men of all ages consume this material--there are no
                  > special
                  > issues of Penthouse published for men over fifty featuring naked women
                  > over
                  > age 50.
                  >
                  > In men, sexual desire and desire for a partner to share one's life are
                  > often
                  > radically at odds. I've noticed that this is something many women find
                  > difficult to fathom, because women more often then men find their sexual
                  > desires and desires for a partner concordant.
                  >
                  > Paul Okami
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "Schmitt, David" <dps@...>
                  > To: <lynnoc@...>; <HelenFisher@...>;
                  > <a.j.lock@...>; <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Cc: <dan@...>
                  > Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 10:28 PM
                  > Subject: RE: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?
                  >
                  >
                  >> In regard to Lynn's recent queries, I thought I'd jump in with a little
                  > bit of feedback:
                  >>
                  >
                • Irwin Silverman
                  ... Well, that is what they tell us ... See, for e.g., Gangestad and Simpson s work on strategic pluralism in women s mate preferences (Behavioral and
                  Message 8 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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                    On Wed, 29 Sep 2004, Paul Okami wrote:

                    > In men, sexual desire and desire for a partner to share one's life are often
                    > radically at odds. I've noticed that this is something many women find
                    > difficult to fathom, because women more often then men find their sexual
                    > desires and desires for a partner concordant.

                    Well, that is what they tell us ...
                    See, for e.g., Gangestad and Simpson's work on "strategic
                    pluralism" in women's mate preferences (Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23,
                    2000) or Scheib's study of extra-pair copulations (Personal Relationships,
                    8, 2001).
                  • Paul Okami
                    The frequent shifts in pop culture is very new, probably only about 50 years old, and very American. In many other countries (e.g., South America) adults and
                    Message 9 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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                      The frequent shifts in pop culture is very new, probably only about 50 years
                      old, and very American. In many other countries (e.g., South America)
                      adults and teenagers listen to similar music. Even in America, in the
                      forties, adults and teenagers listened to similar music. I think this is
                      entirely the working of contemporary consumer economics.

                      Paul



                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Jay R. Feierman" <jfeierman@...>
                      To: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                      Cc: "evol psychol" <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 7:40 PM
                      Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?


                      > Paul et al.,
                      >
                      > There also appears to be a generation-separating phenomenon, at least in
                      the
                      > western, industrialized democracies, which keeps older men from forming
                      much
                      > more than brief, sexual liaisons with much younger women. Each ten or so
                      > years adolescents have major changes in pop culture. They have new dress
                      > fads (low cut jeans, bare midriffs, etc.) and adornments (tattoos and
                      > piercings) as well as their own styles of music (hip hop, rap, etc.).
                      There
                      > are even new word meanings. I remember when my teenage son told me that
                      > "bad" meant "good!" He never hear of someone being "square," which was a
                      > word of my generation.
                      <Snip>
                    • Jay R. Feierman
                      Paul, Hello. How do you know the frequent shifts in pop culture is very new, probably only about 50 years old, and very American? Some of these changes are
                      Message 10 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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                        Paul,

                        Hello. How do you know the "frequent shifts in pop culture is very new,
                        probably only about 50 years old, and very American?" Some of these changes
                        are subtle and it is very difficult for an outsider to perceive them. The
                        Japanese certainly go through pop culture changes as well as Americans. In
                        2000, I was in Japan and almost all the teenage girls were all wearing very
                        high platform shoes that made it almost impossible for them to walk
                        normally. That appeared to be a Japan-only phenomenon, as teenage girls in
                        the USA were not doing this. I question whether these periodic shifts in pop
                        culture are such a new phenomenon and whether they are driven by
                        contemporary consumer economics. I thought modern marketing does not create
                        needs, just capitalizes on pre-existing needs. Certainly, the rate of change
                        is changing. Is that what's going on? The form of classical music lasted for
                        centuries but the changing styles of pop music (e.g., rock and roll to the
                        Beatles) only last for decades at most. I remember last year that a young,
                        tattooed woman was surprised that I thought her multiple tattoos were like
                        graffiti on a beautiful building. She told me, "The younger guys really like
                        them." That comment is what got me thinking about this issue. Same with all
                        the piercings.

                        Regards,
                        Jay R. Feierman


                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                        To: "Jay R. Feierman" <jfeierman@...>
                        Cc: "evol psychol" <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 6:28 PM
                        Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?


                        > The frequent shifts in pop culture is very new, probably only about 50
                        > years
                        > old, and very American. In many other countries (e.g., South America)
                        > adults and teenagers listen to similar music. Even in America, in the
                        > forties, adults and teenagers listened to similar music. I think this is
                        > entirely the working of contemporary consumer economics.
                        >
                        > Paul
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: "Jay R. Feierman" <jfeierman@...>
                        > To: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                        > Cc: "evol psychol" <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 7:40 PM
                        > Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?
                        >
                        >
                        >> Paul et al.,
                        >>
                        >> There also appears to be a generation-separating phenomenon, at least in
                        > the
                        >> western, industrialized democracies, which keeps older men from forming
                        > much
                        >> more than brief, sexual liaisons with much younger women. Each ten or so
                        >> years adolescents have major changes in pop culture. They have new dress
                        >> fads (low cut jeans, bare midriffs, etc.) and adornments (tattoos and
                        >> piercings) as well as their own styles of music (hip hop, rap, etc.).
                        > There
                        >> are even new word meanings. I remember when my teenage son told me that
                        >> "bad" meant "good!" He never hear of someone being "square," which was a
                        >> word of my generation.
                        >>
                        >> Since newborns are not born in lots or cohorts every 10-or-so years,
                        >> there
                        >> must be some factor or factors that generate these periodic, 10-or-so
                        > year
                        >> changes in the pop culture. As a result of this phenomenon, it is
                        > difficulty
                        >> for an older man to have much in common with a young girl. I don't know
                        >> if
                        >> other such generation-separating phenomena exists in simple, tribal
                        >> societies. It's not something anyone could observe during a short
                        >> observation period of even a few years.
                        >>
                        >> Do these periodic changes in the pop culture, which separate older men
                        > from
                        >> younger girls, occur through a passive process, similar to the 4-year
                        >> extinction of romantic attraction? Or, are they are caused by some
                        >> active
                        >> process? If it is an active or passive process, what is that process? Is
                        > it
                        >> a DNA-coded adaptation, a by-product of selection or a
                        >> societally-devised,
                        >> culturally-transmitted phenomenon? Whatever causes it and transmits it
                        >> across and within generations, it allows (either directly or indirectly)
                        >> high status, older men to live within an unnatural mating system (for
                        > them),
                        >> monogamy. Said another way, the periodic changes in the pop culture,
                        > either
                        >> directly or indirectly, help older, high status men to live monogamously
                        >> with a mildly polygamous brain. I'd be interested in comments from others
                        > on
                        >> the list.
                        >>
                        >> Regards,
                        >> Jay R. Feierman
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> ----- Original Message -----
                        >> From: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                        >> To: <lynnoc@...>; <HelenFisher@...>;
                        >> <a.j.lock@...>; <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>;
                        >> "Schmitt, David" <dps@...>
                        >> Cc: <dan@...>
                        >> Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 9:35 AM
                        >> Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> > In thinking about older men's mate preferences there is often a
                        > confusion
                        >> > in
                        >> > people's thinking between sexual desire and desire for a partner (e.g.,
                        >> > marriage).
                        >> > A fifty-five year old man might well wish to marry a woman closer to
                        >> > his
                        >> > age
                        >> > because there are many functions of marriage in the contemporary world
                        >> > that
                        >> > were not in effect in the world of our ancestors. Companionship and
                        >> > intimacy are extremely important, and some people find that difficult
                        >> > to
                        >> > achieve in a partner from a different generation.
                        >> >
                        >> > However, you note that virtually all pornography and other sorts of
                        > female
                        >> > displays in magazines geared to men feature women between the ages of
                        >> > 18-24
                        >> > approximately. Men of all ages consume this material--there are no
                        >> > special
                        >> > issues of Penthouse published for men over fifty featuring naked women
                        >> > over
                        >> > age 50.
                        >> >
                        >> > In men, sexual desire and desire for a partner to share one's life are
                        >> > often
                        >> > radically at odds. I've noticed that this is something many women find
                        >> > difficult to fathom, because women more often then men find their
                        >> > sexual
                        >> > desires and desires for a partner concordant.
                        >> >
                        >> > Paul Okami
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> > ----- Original Message -----
                        >> > From: "Schmitt, David" <dps@...>
                        >> > To: <lynnoc@...>; <HelenFisher@...>;
                        >> > <a.j.lock@...>; <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                        >> > Cc: <dan@...>
                        >> > Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 10:28 PM
                        >> > Subject: RE: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> >> In regard to Lynn's recent queries, I thought I'd jump in with a
                        >> >> little
                        >> > bit of feedback:
                        >> >>
                        >> > <Snip>
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                      • commons@tiac.net
                        I do not think the shifts in pop culture were new. Take architecture in the US. One can date a building within a 20 year period pretty easily after about the
                        Message 11 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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                          I do not think the shifts in pop culture were new. Take architecture in the
                          US. One can date a building within a 20 year period pretty easily after
                          about the 1760 to the present. More recently one can do it in 10 year bins.
                          As to music, that is pretty easy to place pop music in 5 year bins since the
                          early 20s. Fashion may be also at maximum 5 year bins.

                          My best,

                          Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.
                          Assistant Clinical Professor

                          Program in Psychiatry and the Law
                          Department of Psychiatry
                          Harvard Medical School
                          234 Huron Avenue
                          Cambridge, MA 02138-1328

                          Telephone (617) 497-5270
                          Facsimile (617) 491-5270

                          Commons@...
                          http://dareassociation.org/
                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                          To: "Jay R. Feierman" <jfeierman@...>
                          Cc: "evol psychol" <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 8:28 PM
                          Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?


                          > The frequent shifts in pop culture is very new, probably only about 50
                          > years
                          > old, and very American. In many other countries (e.g., South America)
                          > adults and teenagers listen to similar music. Even in America, in the
                          > forties, adults and teenagers listened to similar music. I think this is
                          > entirely the working of contemporary consumer economics.
                          >
                          > Paul
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ----- Original Message -----
                          > From: "Jay R. Feierman" <jfeierman@...>
                          > To: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                          > Cc: "evol psychol" <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                          > Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 7:40 PM
                          > Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?
                          >
                          >
                          >> Paul et al.,
                          >>
                          >> There also appears to be a generation-separating phenomenon, at least in
                          > the
                          >> western, industrialized democracies, which keeps older men from forming
                          > much
                          >> more than brief, sexual liaisons with much younger women. Each ten or so
                          >> years adolescents have major changes in pop culture. They have new dress
                          >> fads (low cut jeans, bare midriffs, etc.) and adornments (tattoos and
                          >> piercings) as well as their own styles of music (hip hop, rap, etc.).
                          > There
                          >> are even new word meanings. I remember when my teenage son told me that
                          >> "bad" meant "good!" He never hear of someone being "square," which was a
                          >> word of my generation.
                          > <Snip>
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • Jay R. Feierman
                          Michael, Paul et al., When I said that the cycle of pop culture was 10 or so years, that was a guesstimate on my part. Michael, you say closer to 5 years.
                          Message 12 of 16 , Sep 29, 2004
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                            Michael, Paul et al.,

                            When I said that the cycle of pop culture was "10 or so years," that was a
                            guesstimate on my part. Michael, you say closer to 5 years. That's close to
                            Helen Fisher's 4 year period where romantic attraction wears out. Could
                            there be a connection? Could the getting bored or tired of units of pop
                            culture be the same mechanism that gets one bored or tired of a mate after 4
                            years. Do the marketing people just take advantage of the 4 year cycle in us
                            and change our clothes and music as a substitute for changing our partners?

                            Regards,
                            Jay R. Feierman


                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: <commons@...>
                            To: "Jay R. Feierman" <jfeierman@...>; "Paul Okami"
                            <kozure.okami@...>
                            Cc: "evol psychol" <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 7:20 PM
                            Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?


                            >I do not think the shifts in pop culture were new. Take architecture in
                            >the
                            > US. One can date a building within a 20 year period pretty easily after
                            > about the 1760 to the present. More recently one can do it in 10 year
                            > bins.
                            > As to music, that is pretty easy to place pop music in 5 year bins since
                            > the
                            > early 20s. Fashion may be also at maximum 5 year bins.
                            >
                            > My best,
                            >
                            > Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.
                            > Assistant Clinical Professor
                            >
                            > Program in Psychiatry and the Law
                            > Department of Psychiatry
                            > Harvard Medical School
                            > 234 Huron Avenue
                            > Cambridge, MA 02138-1328
                            >
                            > Telephone (617) 497-5270
                            > Facsimile (617) 491-5270
                            >
                            > Commons@...
                            > http://dareassociation.org/
                            > ----- Original Message -----
                            > From: "Paul Okami" <kozure.okami@...>
                            > To: "Jay R. Feierman" <jfeierman@...>
                            > Cc: "evol psychol" <evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com>
                            > Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 8:28 PM
                            > Subject: Re: [evol-psych] mate selection and age? & sex and privacy?
                            >
                            <Snip>
                          • Steven D'Aprano
                            ... That s not *quite* true. It isn t exactly that Penthouse has made an editorial decision not to show 50-ish women, but that few of them meet their editorial
                            Message 13 of 16 , Sep 30, 2004
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                              On Thu, 30 Sep 2004 01:35 am, Paul Okami wrote:

                              > However, you note that virtually all pornography and other sorts of
                              > female displays in magazines geared to men feature women between the
                              > ages of 18-24 approximately. Men of all ages consume this
                              > material--there are no special issues of Penthouse published for men
                              > over fifty featuring naked women over age 50.

                              That's not *quite* true. It isn't exactly that Penthouse has made an
                              editorial decision not to show 50-ish women, but that few of them meet
                              their editorial standards for attractiveness. But if they do -- I'm
                              thinking about women like Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, etc, who if they
                              aren't 50 are approaching it -- I'm sure Penthouse would publish nude
                              photos of them.

                              It should also be pointed out that in the world of sexual desire, there
                              is probably nothing that can't be eroticised by somebody. There are
                              porn magazines and websites that specifically cater for men who are
                              attracted to over-50s women.


                              --
                              Steven D'Aprano
                            • Euterpel66@aol.com
                              In a message dated 9/29/2004 5:22:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time, kozure.okami@comcast.net writes: In thinking about older men s mate preferences there is often
                              Message 14 of 16 , Sep 30, 2004
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                                In a message dated 9/29/2004 5:22:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time, kozure.okami@... writes:
                                In thinking about older men's mate preferences there is often a confusion in
                                people's thinking between sexual desire and desire for a partner (e.g.,
                                marriage).
                                A fifty-five year old man might well wish to marry a woman closer to his age
                                because there are many functions of marriage in the contemporary world that
                                were not in effect in the world of our ancestors.  Companionship and
                                intimacy are extremely important, and some people find that difficult to
                                achieve in a partner from a different generation.

                                However, you note that virtually all pornography and other sorts of female
                                displays in magazines geared to men feature women between the ages of 18-24
                                approximately.  Men of all ages consume this material--there are no special
                                issues of Penthouse published for men over fifty featuring naked women over
                                age 50.

                                In men, sexual desire and desire for a partner to share one's life are often
                                radically at odds.  I've noticed that this is something many women find
                                difficult to fathom, because women more often then men find their sexual
                                desires and desires for a partner concordant.

                                Paul Okami
                                I'm confused Paul. What could a 49 year old man and a 20 year old woman have in common as far as companionship is concerned? Even common frames of reference would seem difficult to me, not to mention the education gap. My 36 year old daughter has tended to date men at least 10-15 years younger than herself, but has recently decided that having to explain movies, history, etc. is too much. Although my boyfriend is 8 years older than I, I didn't go looking for someone older. It's just hard to find someone my age or older whose parts work.
                                 
                                Lorraine
                                If he stands up, we'll all stand up. It'll be anarchy---The Breakfast Club

                                http://hometown.aol.com/euterpel66/myhomepage/poetry.html
                              • Steven D'Aprano
                                ... What do *any* two people have in common? I don t think you can single out the age gap. My partner is 18 years older than I, and has lived a very different
                                Message 15 of 16 , Sep 30, 2004
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                                  On Fri, 1 Oct 2004 04:12 am, Euterpel66@... wrote:

                                  > I'm confused Paul. What could a 49 year old man and a 20 year old
                                  > woman have in common as far as companionship is concerned?

                                  What do *any* two people have in common? I don't think you can single
                                  out the age gap.

                                  My partner is 18 years older than I, and has lived a very different life
                                  from me. She is frequently driven to distraction by how little I know
                                  about the music scene of the 1960s and 1970s -- as I am amazed by how
                                  little she knows about early 20th century political history. So we have
                                  great fun teaching each other about things we don't know.

                                  As we've gotten older, we're finding more and more that our friends are
                                  much younger than both of us. The average age of our close friends --
                                  both male and female, and far more females than males -- is around 25.
                                  They are full of so much more vim and pep than people our ages. They
                                  are interested in art and politics and live interesting lives, instead
                                  of having a life that revolves around work, children, and the latest
                                  "reality TV" abomination.

                                  But then I suspect our friends are far more intelligent 20-somethings
                                  than the average.

                                  When my partner and I are out in public, we'll often notice gaggles of
                                  young women chattering away about nothing. My partner will often turn
                                  to me and say "Look at the puppies": they are inexperienced and full of
                                  enthusiasm and slightly silly, and so cute you want to take them home
                                  and play with them.

                                  > Even
                                  > common frames of reference would seem difficult to me, not to mention
                                  > the education gap. My 36 year old daughter has tended to date men at
                                  > least 10-15 years younger than herself, but has recently decided that
                                  > having to explain movies, history, etc. is too much.

                                  But that process of mutual education about culture and life is part of
                                  the attraction. If you and your partner both knew exactly the same
                                  things, what would you talk about? The weather?


                                  --
                                  Steven D'Aprano
                                • Euterpel66@aol.com
                                  Steven, Your 20 something friends are DEFINITELY far out of the curve of the majority. Are the experiences of the people on this list not egocentric? We look
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Sep 30, 2004
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                                    Steven,
                                    Your 20 something friends are DEFINITELY far out of the curve of the majority. Are the experiences of the people on this list not egocentric? We look at the people around us as if this is what the whole world  knows or is experiencing. The same feelings and thoughts that are in our hearts and minds are by our nature the same all over, yet we know intellectually that that is not so. We know it because we've visited it, or we've seen it on TV, or we've read about it, but do we feel it as empathy or real experience? We can't even step into the shoes of our next door neighbor. We try to reduce human behavior to our own experience or that of scientific studies, but that sometimes just limits our ability to see reality.
                                     
                                    If I were to tell you that the 20 somethings that I see are childish, aimless, ignorant, and dependent, you might think I was speaking of a small minority, but that would negate the positions at most colleges for developmental professors. There is even a PhD and many positions available in developmental English. Not just athletes are entering college being unable to read and write. Not just a small number have never read a book from cover to cover. If I told you that a 21 year old boy, yes boy, in my class made grunts and animal noises to distract the class yesterday, you'd hardly call him full of vim and pep [no he doesn't have Tourette's], in fact the preceding class he slept through. His snoring bothered another student, so he gave him a poke.
                                     
                                    I teach them and I enjoy teaching them, but an interest in art, politics, or any other intellectual pursuit is foreign to them. If I or my colleagues don't spark that interest, there ain't gonna be no fire.
                                     
                                     
                                    Lorraine
                                    If he stands up, we'll all stand up. It'll be anarchy---The Breakfast Club

                                    http://hometown.aol.com/euterpel66/myhomepage/poetry.html
                                    In a message dated 9/30/2004 9:30:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time, limeguin@... writes:
                                    On Fri, 1 Oct 2004 04:12 am, Euterpel66@... wrote:

                                    > I'm confused Paul. What could a 49 year old man and a 20 year old
                                    > woman have in common as far as companionship is concerned?

                                    What do *any* two people have in common? I don't think you can single
                                    out the age gap.

                                    My partner is 18 years older than I, and has lived a very different life
                                    from me. She is frequently driven to distraction by how little I know
                                    about the music scene of the 1960s and 1970s -- as I am amazed by how
                                    little she knows about early 20th century political history. So we have
                                    great fun teaching each other about things we don't know.

                                    As we've gotten older, we're finding more and more that our friends are
                                    much younger than both of us. The average age of our close friends --
                                    both male and female, and far more females than males -- is around 25.
                                    They are full of so much more vim and pep than people our ages. They
                                    are interested in art and politics and live interesting lives, instead
                                    of having a life that revolves around work, children, and the latest
                                    "reality TV" abomination.

                                    But then I suspect our friends are far more intelligent 20-somethings
                                    than the average.

                                    When my partner and I are out in public, we'll often notice gaggles of
                                    young women chattering away about nothing. My partner will often turn
                                    to me and say "Look at the puppies": they are inexperienced and full of
                                    enthusiasm and slightly silly, and so cute you want to take them home
                                    and play with them.

                                    > Even
                                    > common frames of reference would seem difficult to me, not to mention
                                    > the education gap. My 36  year old daughter has tended to date men at
                                    > least 10-15 years younger than herself, but has recently decided that
                                    > having to explain movies, history, etc.  is too much.

                                    But that process of mutual education about culture and life is part of
                                    the attraction. If you and your partner both knew exactly the same
                                    things, what would you talk about? The weather?


                                    --
                                    Steven D'Aprano
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