The Greeks Had a Word for It

July 27, 2007

Someone said to me the other day, “Jackson, I’ve been checking your stuff, and I notice that most of your heroes are heroines and all your villains are men. Is there something you should be telling us?”

Well, yes, I admit, I’m a philogynist or, to put it bluntly, a gynophile. But not, I insist, a skirt-chaser. As my old psych. prof used to say, repeatedly, “Oh-Bee, never run after a bus or a woman; there’s always another just round the corner.” And surely the testimony of a triple divorcé has to count for something. Moreover, at my age any enthusiasm has to be strictly academic and observational.

But to answer the question, it all began when I was just a struggling young four-cell zygote trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I watched, fascinated, my progression from fish to amphibian to ape, and by the time I got to be a multibillion-cell newborn I was so impressed with the process that I knew my major was going to be evolution and Charlie Darwin my role model.

I mean, who else (bar Ernst Haeckel) could have explained, back in 1859, why ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny? But let’s be fair; it’s the cook, not the book, gets the credit for the dish, and it was my mother who crafted me, cell by tiny cell, out of her own resources, even contributing several teeth when I called for calcium, while my father was off hunting big game, except for a few moments right at the start.

So the sheer logic of the situation set my future course, although there were several contributory factors. By the time I was taking solids, I realized that women were the caring sex, always ready to wipe away tears or fix peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And they were kinda cute to look at, being composed of curves rather than angles, and generally smelled better than boys.

At 6, I was studying comparative physiology with the girl next door, and was mightily impressed at her grasp of child production and nurture at her tender age. She laughed when I suggested we go into the business together, saying I would have to grow up a bit first, and she turned out to be right.

Later, following formal religious instruction, came the fateful day when I learned the truth about gender. Boys boast both an X and a Y chromosome, while girls have just a couple of Xs, but I read that the vaunted Y is really just an X that lost an arm in some terrible accident, casting serious doubt on the claim in Genesis 2:22, which asserts that women got their start as one of Adam’s spare ribs.

There are a few other points to mention. If, from women’s undeniable superiority in loyalty, practicality and sales promotion, and as vessels-of-the-race, we subtract a raft of concerns about vain, deceitful, illogical, ambiguous and astronomical maintenance cost, we are still left with a residuum of positive virtues that will keep them going long after men have disappeared from the scene. So when push comes to shove, the prudent male will go with the winners.

Which is why I’m a philogynist, or whatever.

 

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