Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hugh Heffner and Darwinan's Theory of Natural Selection

I was watching the E! True Hollywood Story of Hugh Hefner the other night, which was really interesting, and suddenly had a revelation. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, and I’m sure some a scientist somewhere has thought of it, but…

As they interviewed Hef’s ex-girlfriends, I was struck by how much better Hef had aged. As an 82 year old, he still looks good, and he has three twentysomething girlfriends. Ok, sure, his money and his status as a cultural icon certainly help, but it’s not uncommon for old or older men to have much younger wives and lovers. Whereas his ex-girlfriends, who were all way younger than Heff, did not look very attractive anymore at all. Why are older women less attractive than older men? (Aside from the fact that Hef’s ex-girlfriends had all had a lot of work done.)

Then it hit me. It’s Darwinian. An older man can still father children, so it makes evolutionary sense for younger fertile women to still find them sexually attractive. Imagine a tribe where all the young men are wiped out for some reason. If the young women are still attracted to the older men, the tribe will survive.

An older woman (even one way younger than Hef) either can’t have kids or can’t without it being very risky for both mother and child, so it makes evolutionary sense to not find them attractive. If all the young women of the tribe are wiped out, it doesn’t do the tribe any good for the young men to hook up with the older women. They need to go out and find a young woman somewhere to ensure the survival of the tribe.

Again, I’m sure that’s obvious to some people. I’d just never thought of it before.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.