Monday, November 07, 2005

"Sexy"

What is it that makes something "sexy"? Presumably, it would be a tie to something that is relevant to reproduction and the survival of the species, some evolutionary advantage. I'm sure you can think of features yourself which fall clearly into this category.

But let's look at some of the many and varied things we call "sexy". Cars, for instance. What do they have to do with reproduction? Well, maybe someone who's got a nice car will be a good provider, and a good provider will be better able to care for their offspring, increasing their chance of survival.

But, then we all take it in our own directions. We all have fetishes. We all have odd little things we find terribly attractive. I have a couple of friends who have a nose fetish (which I've picked up lately too...) - nice long, straight noses. Smell predators and food and all that from further away? Okay, maybe that's reasonable too. Or my typical statement of the kind of guy usually I go for - tall, pale, skinny guys (or, as I prefer to think of them, "slender and fair"). Well, that could be association - guys of that description tend to be geeks, and geeks tend to be paid well these days, and we're back to the "good provider" model. Another friend admits she likes short guys. Not that she consciously goes after them, but she says there's something about the way a short guy walks that she realizes, after she notes she likes a guy, that she feels a pull toward. I don't know if I can explain that one in any terms of evolutionary advantage. Some visible sign of making up for shorter stature, to have better odds in competitions with other males for females/food/turf/all that good stuff?

My point is that we start having to draw edges between more and more nodes, having longer and longer paths back to the original definition. It's a greater number of links in both function and language. And we tend to get these expansions of language (think of all the slang and the huge range of suggestive language related to all this) around things which are important or preoccupying. After all, the survival of the species is rather important.

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