Saturday, January 31, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Recent medical research has discovered that men who have trouble being monogamous may be the inheritors of a particular genetic variant which has an effect on “an important attachment hormone”. Findings indicate such men are more likely to stray, tend to have difficulties with commitment and experience more marital problems, in other words carry all the typical traits of a love rat. This breakthrough was assisted by studies of the sexual behaviour of different species of voles (see picture) – little critters who bear an uncanny resemblance to rats in fact. Depending on their genetic predisposition in terms of variations in hormone receptors, different species of voles are either having it off with every passing lady rattie, or faithful to their little volie wives. It seems like a bit of a stretch but science has been able to apply this finding to help explain why some men are serial cheaters while others are loyal and devoted mates. http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/relationships/article4668864.ece
While this may seem like a brilliantly conceived piece of scientific evidence for men behaving badly to use as an excuse, I hardly think it’s going to wash with those women caught up in a love rat’s exploits. Love rats of the female persuasion of course exist also, but in my experience (personal and observed) it’s the men who tend to predominate in the cheating stakes. Male infidelity has been explained, justified, rationalized and often excused over the ages on the basis of their lusty little appetites, which we are told are so insatiable because of all that testosterone coursing through their veins. In other words it’s not really their fault – they’re just victims of their hormones poor dears. And now it seems they’re victims of their genes as well. With all this physiologically provoked libidinous behaviour, it’s a wonder we women are not being raped and pillaged every time we set foot outside our doors!
Well of course we’re not. Men are perfectly capable of managing and controlling their carnal urges, however base or basic, and comporting themselves in work, play, and all the other realms of society in which they act, in a reasonably civilized manner, for the most part. Men are not beasts (appearances to the contrary in some cases). Their brains are quite developed enough to give them the ability to premeditate before they act, to foresee consequences, and occasionally even to permit the glimmer of conscience, morals and ethics to enlighten their behavioural choices. That wonderfully unique human gift of choice allows us all, men and women, to look at both the pros and cons, weigh up the benefits and calculate the costs of anything we are thinking about doing, all within that smallish but very significant organ – the brain. Nothing else really at the end of the day can be said to be the boss in terms of what good or bad stuff we decide to do – not hormones, not genes, especially not that even smaller male protruberance (unjustly endowed with thinking power by unkind women in anti-male jokes). We as thinking, feeling, intelligent and hopefully principled human beings have an innate ability to control our appetites and hence our actions.
If we aspire to conduct ourselves according to our principles, our morals, commitments we may have made, or our desire not to hurt someone we can of course sometimes weaken and with perhaps the bitterest of regrets, fall foul of our good intentions. But (and this is a big but) we permit ourselves to do that in the full knowledge that we should be doing something else and no-one and nothing else can be held to blame.
So for all those men (and women too even if in the minority) out there who let themselves get caught up in self indulgent and hedonistic behaviour, simply because it feels good at the time, quit fooling yourselves. You have opted to do this in the full knowledge that it’s not right, it will at least hurt yourself, and at worst hurt at least one other person you claim to care about and perhaps more. There’s often one simple and foolproof way to figure out whether what you’re thinking about doing is ok or not, and that’s to stop and contemplate just for a second how you would feel if someone did it to you. I think it’s called compassion and I think it’s about time a few blokes in this world tried it on for size instead of blundering through others’ lives on a wrecking trail and then walking away scratching their heads and wondering what happened.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
This week was little Scully's 12th birthday, so in doggie years she is becoming an older lady. Despite what can only be described as rather a matronly figure, she is doing very well for her age. And matronly with good reason of course, having been the mother of around 5 litters of puppies in her time, some champions of the show-ring among them too I believe. Not the least of her prize offspring is Fergus, my other dog.
I adopted Fergus as a 6 week old puppy almost 7 years ago so of course briefly met Scully, his mum, then. However Fergus turned out to be a very hyperactive puppy, full of beans constantly, always wanting to play and have mock fights with me. That's when he wasn't engaged in chewing or shredding some article of my clothing or prized objet d'art around the house. Eventually I hit upon the idea of getting him a little companion with whom he could expend some of his excess energy and who would keep him company while I was away at work. After the experience of Fergus's puppyhood, I thought an older dog might be wise and when I approached the breeder, she mentioned Scully, Fergus's other mummy was soon to be retired from breeding and might like to come and help me keep her errant son in line. So Scully came to live with us about 6 years ago and very glad am I that she did. She is the dearest little dog - completely calm and placid and an absolute model of good behaviour, in complete contrast to Fergus. She does have her moments though - one of her greatest weaknesses being food. Maybe it was all that jostling for position around the food bowl in competition with the puppies that did it, but she is to put it bluntly the biggest little glutton around food I've ever seen. Long after her dinner bowl is empty, the sound of crashing and banging can be heard from the kitchen, as she slurps her bowl around the floor, desperately vacuuming up every minuscule trace of food until not the tiniest speck remains. She is also an enthusiastic devourer of books - not unfortunately in the literary sense, but in the literal sense and can often be seen dragging dog-eared books from the lower shelves of the book case and gaily ripping them to shreds. Cook books are her favourites - those realistic food pictures I guess being the attraction.
Nevertheless she is one of the little lights of my life and I hope she has many more birthdays still to come as we both grow gracefully into the twilight of our lives together!!